AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - As the CEO of Compass Youth Mentoring Services, Patricia Hicks has seen the heavy load crime has placed on dozens of children who call Augusta's River Glen neighborhood home.
"Some of the kids actually know what guns are and have held guns. They know what crime is and some have actually seen it face-to-face," said Hicks.
Twice a week she meets with youngsters in the neighborhood's recreation center to bring something positive into the community.
When Hicks cued a group of four girls Monday they chanted together, "I am intelligent, I am significant, I am a positive influence."
The children meet under a ceiling that's falling apart and sit on torn up chairs but that should change soon.
The community has new ownership that's pledged to remodel the building and add a computer lab.
The Aspen Companies recently bought the River Glen apartments from PK Management for about $5 million.
Hicks says if the new managing group cleans things up in the neighborhood, it would give the youngest members of the community something to be proud of.
"I think once you have a brighter community, you have something that you can hold on to and something to take care of," Hicks, said.
The Aspen Co. is also promising to fix up the housing units that are in disrepair and bring in security guards.
Isaac Ross who works as an acquisitions analyst for The Aspen Co. believes they will soon make River Glen a safer neighborhood to grow up in.
"We have security teams in place to manage any type of discrepancies or issues that happen onsite," he said.
Ross says they aren't buying the property to flip it and sell it to the highest bidder but they're in it for the long haul.
Hicks says once the environment starts to brighten it should help the children turn their dreams of rising above their circumstances into reality.