FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – A group of teenagers from a Fort Lauderdale church youth group are putting the finishing touches on their trip to Washington, DC for Monday’s Presidential Inauguration.

They’ll be taking with them a message of peace.

Vashati Lindsay, 17, spent Friday evening making binders and preparing paperwork for the trip.

“I’m excited,” she told CBS 4’s Carey Codd. “I can’t think of a better way to spend a 4-day weekend.”

Youth Pastor Reverend James Melton of the New Mount Olive Baptist Church says several years ago the community was touched by the amount of violence in Fort Lauderdale and they wanted the church’s youth to work for peace. In Washington, they will take their message on the road.

“We’ve taken up the cause of becoming peacemakers,” Melton said. “We’re going to be interviewing teenagers from across the country in terms of how they can work together to become peacemakers in their own community.”

Reverend Melton says the timing is perfect because Monday is the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday.

And with images from the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut still fresh in everyone’s minds, the teens hope their message of peace resonates.

“As far as all the gun violence that has gone on, all the criminal activity, we’re trying to do our best to make sure that other people understand the importance of peace,” Lindsay said.

“Violence isn’t the only way of settling things,” said Nechelle Davis. “There are different ways of settling things. That’s what we’re gonna get across to the people.”

The group is leaving in the pre-dawn hours Saturday and will return to South Florida on Tuesday.


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