Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS -- For one 18 year old from New Orleans, an incident earlier this month served as a wakeup call, and an opportunity for change.
Troy, who didn't want to use his last name, was injured in a drive-by shooting just three weeks ago.
"By me being shot, the message that, really, God is showing me, opened up my eyes is -- the streets ain't what's up, you know. You gotta stay to yourself. I'm going back to school and doing the right thing now."
Sunday, Troy joined dozens of teenagers in New Orleans East for the Sixth Annual "Stop The Violence Car Show," an event that aims to steer them toward a positive future.
The idea is simple: bring teens together for something they're interested in -- in this case, cars -- and while they're there, share with them a powerful message about the realities of violence on the streets.
The car show included a lineup of souped-up vehicles, as well as music and, more importantly, speeches about violence.
Rickey Wilson, owner of Deep South Audio, has made the Stop The Violence Car Show an annual event, but his efforts continue throughout the year -- as he teaches young men a number of skills in automobile audio and detailing.
"Supporting these young men makes them feel that someone cares," Wilson said. "The violence in the city is just overwhelming, and the reason why I say that, because these young men are getting killed for anything. I mean, they're dying for petty things. I mean, you're supposed to have fun at 18."
Gary Anderson, 13, said he's already embraced the message.
"Be a good leader. Be a good positive person. Don't try to follow other people. Be yourself," Anderson said.
Those things, Wilson said, can be gained through mastering a trade and avoiding the pitfalls that claim many lives across the city each year.
A coffin on display at Sunday’s event served as a chilling reminder of what's at stake.
"I let em see with the coffin, as you can see, that's the last place. Once you're in that coffin, there's no more coming back," Wilson said.