Cub Reporter Damon Weaver Asks President for Help

Florida boy reports on his hometown, a community torn by violence.

ByABC News
April 7, 2009, 10:30 AM

April 8, 2009— -- Viewers first met Damon Weaver on the night of the presidential inauguration in January.

His school had sent the 10-year-old cub reporter to Washington, D.C., to interview President Obama. He never met the president. But he captured the attention of ABC News, when he visited the studio.

Diane Sawyer asked Damon of Pahokee, Fla., what questions he planned to ask Obama. Damon agreed to whisper his questions in Sawyer's ear, fearing that another reporter might steal them.

After Damon's appearance, ABC News gave him a camera and a producer to help him report about his hometown and pose the question he had wanted to ask Obama.


"My name is Damon Weaver," he said on camera. "And I live in Pahokee, Fla. It's a tiny town: 6,000 people and only three stoplights."

"We grow sugar cane and football players. This county's sent ... players to the NFL," he said. "There's a lot of love in this town. A lot of pride. But something bad has moved in here. Kids learn from the street and copy what they see."

The unemployment rate in Pahokee, which is in Palm Beach County, is almost 24 percent. More than a third of the families live below the poverty line and Damon's community is slowly being torn apart by violent crime.

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"By day, it's safe for me to play outside, just as long as my friends and I stick together," Damon said. "But at night, it's a different story. Sometimes it's like the Wild West out here."

"A bullet's got no name and can find you anytime. So I know how to take off at the sound of gunfire."

"A lot of kids at my school know someone who's been shot or killed," he said.

Jertavius, Damon's friend since kindergarten, has a first-hand understanding of the impact of violence. His father was shot and killed in a robbery two years ago. Damon interviewed him and his grandmother about the murder.

In an interview with Jertavius and his grandmother, he asked, "How did it affect your life, J?"

"Half my heart goes ever since he died," Jertavius, 11, said. "Like your heart is gone."

Jertavius, whose last name is being withheld because of his age, was too emotional to continue with the interview.