COVINGTON, Ga. - Retiring Superior Court Judge Samuel D. Ozburn challenged city, county and community leaders Friday morning to work together to start solving many of the problems facing the community.
"Can you imagine how much we can accomplish if each church, each service organization, the school board, each community group, each city council, the county commission, decided to come together to address poverty, our schools, the criminal justice system, and housing problems right here in Newton County? We wouldn't need any help from Atlanta or Washington D.C. or anywhere else," Ozburn said Friday morning at the Turner Lake Complex.
Ozburn told those in attendance at the Annual Legislative Prayer Breakfast hosted jointly by the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs of Covington that there are currently inmates in the Newton County Jail who could be released but remain in jail because they have no where to live.
"There are prisoners in the Newton County Jail this morning who could be released to be supervised by the mental health court, the resource court that I preside over, if they just had somewhere to live," he said," A place where we could check on them, pick them up and take them to treatment, supervise and drug test them, stabilize them and restore their dignity, instead of sitting in jail.
"But they have no family, no home to go to, so they sit in jail."
Ozburn also talked about the shortage mentors for children in the community.
"Children, boys and girls, need mentors, someone to talk to. Maybe just for an hour, once a week, at their school," he said," The list of children who need, but have no mentors, is so long that they can't take anymore applications. If the churches would join together, and just have one or two volunteers from each church to do this, the waiting list of children who need a mentor could be eliminated.
"Just one hour a week, working together, could change the lives of hundreds of children here in Newton County - some within a mile of where we are seated."
Ozburn challenged those in attendance to think about the possibilities.
"Less poverty, better educated children, dignity and lives restored, crime rates dropping," he said," And these are only a few examples for the many opportunities for cooperation and coordination of a people united to make God's will our will – right here in Newton County."