‘I turned my pain into purpose’: Woman who lost son to gun violence opens youth training center

EAST POINT, Ga. — A mother who lost a teenager to gun violence said she is turning her pain into purpose.

She is opening a job resource training center to give young people a career instead of a life of crime.

Donese Gordon wants what happened to her son never to happen to anyone else.

“I’m trying to change the narrative,” she told Channel 2′s Tom Jones.

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It’s a narrative aimed at young people who gravitate toward a life of crime.

“I’m trying to let them know that they don’t have to go out and rob and kill people,” Gordon said.

She wants young people to know a career beats being a criminal any day.

“Our mission is to reduce crime committed by youth by helping them with job resources,” she said.

That’s why she opened Grant’s World. It is named after her 16-year-old son, Grant Payton, who was shot and killed in the City of South Fulton in May 2018.

He was killed a week after starting his first job at Chick-Fil-A. Tyree Johnson, 19, was also killed and a 15-year-old was wounded.

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Gordon was filled with anger, but then she saw her pain got her nowhere

“I turned my pain into purpose,” she said.

Grant’s World is a one-stop shop where young people ages 15 to 24 can get the tools they need to get a job and stay away from crime.

“What we’re going to do, we’re going to show kids how to prepare resumes,” she said while walking through the new youth job resource center on White Way in East Point.

Gordon gave Jones a tour of the center.

“This is where we’re going to be showing videos on how to interview,” she said, pointing out designated area in the center.

She will offer job training, critical thinking skills, job certification and much more. Gordon is working with businesses to give her students jobs after they’re trained.

She wants young people who come through her center to leave knowing one thing:

“That they can be anything they want to be,” she said.

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Gordon is looking for volunteers and more businesses to partner with to offer her students jobs after they’re trained. She said she has forgiven the young men who took her son’s life, and she is willing to give them jobs if they are released from jail.

Grant’s World is scheduled to open in May.

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