WUFT News

Block party seeks to put violence, disease stats on “Road to Zero”

By on January 18th, 2014
Tylan Webb and others dougie

Wade Millward / WUFT

Tylan Webb, 7, second from the right, joins a group of dancers at Saturday’s Road to Zero event at the Martin Luther King Center in Gainesville.

Belinda Quarterman stood with around 20 other people inside the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center when a speaker asked who in the audience knew someone who is HIV positive.

Some of Quarterman’s kids sat beside her on the bleachers at 1028 NE 14th St., Gainesville. The mother of five agreed that speaking openly about disease, violence and bullying at events such as Saturday’s Road to Zero block party was important to the community and its youth.

Belinda Quarterman and her family

Wade Millward / WUFT

Belinda Quarterman, second from the right, watches a speaker with her family at Saturday’s Road to Zero event.

“Some kids don’t have mentors in their life to get this kind of information,” she said. “It’s something that everybody should know, needs to know.”

The event, now in its second year, was started by Gainesville Police Officer Jacques LaFrance Jr. The 26-year-old said he wants to prevent issues he found prevalent among the city’s youth, including drugs, violence and sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs.

He said he wants to see negative statistics decrease, as has happened with violent crimes, which decreased 4.5 percent from 2012 to 2013, he said. The event’s name highlights that intent — to decrease negative statistics to zero.

“We’re getting the word across,” LaFrance said. “If one kid retains one thing from this event, then I did my part.”

The event’s audience peaked at around 180 people inside the recreation center, where participants shimmied to a DJ’s set, volunteers offered free STD testing and information booth managers handed out literature on health resources, support groups and political candidates.

A slideshow next to the dancers displayed positive messages along with bullying and STD statistics.

Around 50 people at the event took tests for HIV, getting their results in about 20 minutes, or took tests for chlamydia and gonorrhea, for which they’ll wait two weeks for the results, said Shantrel Canidate of Alachua County’s Minority AIDS program.

Last year, the Florida Department of Health ranked the county fourth in the state for STDs, with 8,452 reported cases since 2008.

Webb and William on the bleachers

Wade Millward / WUFT

Tylan Webb, 7, sits with his great-grandmother Dorothy William at Saturday’s Road to Zero event.

Sitting on the other side of the center from Quarterman and her family was Dorothy William. The Gainesville resident joined her great-grandson and his aunt, her granddaughter, for the event. William said she heard information she and her kids never heard as adolescents.

“This teaches kids stuff they wouldn’t normally learn,” William said. “And it’s fun for me too,” she said while watching her great-grandson, Tylan Webb, run by.

Tylan, 7, had won a lollipop for playing a game at Alachua County’s Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center information booth.

The event gave the center and other groups a chance to meet and speak with kids in the vulnerable 16-24 age range, booth manager and victim advocate counselor Cassandra Moore said.

She explained to a group of teens that relentless texting could be considered as much harassment as affection, she said.

Playing in Moore’s booth game, Tylan taped the words “being nice” to a board listing positive traits for healthy couples, next to “communication” and “honesty” and away from listed negative traits such as “jealousy.”

“That’s a good thing,” he said to explain his choice.


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

Retired Marine Cary Hill, unit commander of the Milton Lewis Young Marines, said "Freedom isn't free" during Memorial Day ceremonies at Forest Meadows Cemetery in Gainesville, Fla. Monday, May, 26, 2015.

Young Marines Honor Veterans On Memorial Day

Milton Lewis Young Marines honor veterans during Memorial Day ceremonies at Forest Meadows Cemetery in Gainesville. Mayor Ed Braddy and Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell were among the group that dedicated their speeches to veterans.


Roller Derby

Rolling to Recovery: Tattooed and Bruised

Camille Loose is a 30-year-old recovering methadone addict who may be better known to some by her roller derby name, Jane Dough. Loose turned to the sport to help overcome her past issues.


Park visitors enjoy a day in the crystal clear waters at Ichetucknee Springs State Park. Guests can enjoy tubing from the north entrance beginning Memorial Day Weekend.

Ichetucknee Springs Reopens Entrance for Memorial Day

Ichetucknee Springs is reopening the northern entrance of the park for Memorial Day weekend. 4,000 are expected to be in attendance during the three-day weekend.


Deputy County Manager Betty Baker speaks to the Gainesville City Commission on the need for regulations at the homeless camp Dignity Village. Thursday, commissioners approved to spend up to $50,000 to secure an emergency contract with a non-profit provider.

City Commission Grants Gainesville Management Of Dignity Village

Gainesville City Commission passes a motion for the management of Dignity Village. The motion begins the process of addressing safety issues and concerns regarding the logistics of the community.


Gina Eaton (left), a 34-year-old graduate student at UF, and Heather Petroccia, a 26-year-old Ph.D. student at UF, clean out buckets to prepare them to mix grout for the tiles.

Habitat For Humanity Build Programs Empower Women

National Women Build Week was May 2-10. Alachua Habitat for Humanity Women Build participated in the weeklong event.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments