Boys and Girls Club helps kids cope with violence

SOUTH BEND, Ind.- One man very connected to youth across the country is specifically speaking out about teen violence in Michiana. The President and CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Jim Clark, paid a visit to South Bend.

With 30 shootings since the first of the year, and 2 kids killed in the past month, how does his organization plan to help lead a charge against the violence?

He said the Boys and Girls Club in South Bend takes the safety of the kids in their organization very seriously. He says they try to teach them new ways to handle situations.

Clark said the most important thing he and his team can bring to the table is safety.

“We leave no stone unturned when it comes to the safety of our kids. And unfortunately, in today’s society and the society we live in today, that is more important than ever before," said Clark.

They want parents and kids in our community to know the Boys and Girls Club is a place to go when tragedy strikes.

“We take this seriously. Very seriously," said Clark. "Any incident that’s reported goes to my office and hits my desk. That’s how important it is to me.”

Jory Fitzgerald Kelly, the President of South Bend's Boys and Girls Club, has seen how this violence has affected kids first hand.

“Two days after Christmas, when returning home from a boys and girls basketball game, one of our young members found their father laying dead in the snow, that is just another example of the gun violence we see in our community," said Kelly.

Kids going through situations like that will now have options in South Bend. 

Clark says the club is adding a new counseling service to help anyone through the grieving process, especially those affected directly by violence.

"It’s certainly been an initative that’s been encouraged by the violence in our community. But one we’ve made a long-term commitment to," said Kelly.

“It’s a terrible, terrible situation. That we all face in this nation," said Clark. "Whether it’s right here in South Bend or any community in this country when we deal with tragedies like this, and it really gives me even more drive and ambition to do more and more and more to prevent these kind of situations from happening.”

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