“Kids in this city need something to cling to,” he says. “I was saved by a few things – my mother, my wife, and music.”
That’s why, standing proudly in that loft, Vernon wants to save others.
He remembers playing basketball in Lighthouse Youth Center, doing homework in the Princess Street Center, and pausing to show respect in various churches that opened their doors to York’s inner-city youth.
They were a haven for teens who had nowhere else to go. But many of those centers no longer exist, and so, Vernon believes, York’s crime stats will continue to climb.
He started two record labels, an entertainment company, and Oh!YnotPa, an online radio station, and Vernon’s next goal is to create a new community center that focuses on bringing music into the lives of York’s teens.
“Music can keep people busy. It can teach them skills to start a career. It can keep them off the street and save their lives,” he says. “I have a long way to go, but I’m determined to get there.”