Local youth advocate reaching out to youth as violence against youth rises
SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- A local man is taking it upon himself to end youth violence.
Since the start of the year, two teenagers have been killed because of gun violence. Kintae Lark, South Bend youth advocate, said enough is enough.
Lark went on Facebook with this post Saturday morning:
On Friday, Tysiona Crawford, 17, died at a South Bend hospital after suffering from a gunshot wound. In early January, D’Angelo Jennings, 17, was shot to death inside a home on Johnson Street.
“It’s not necessarily about me or what I can do it’s about us and what we can do as a community to reach out to our young people,” said Lark. “They’re grieving, they’re hurting, they’re crying, they’re going through a lot and they don’t even understand why.”
Lark said all that young people in South Bend know is that their friends are dying. He said, for as long as he needs to, he’ll be busing young men to and from church on Sundays to keep them off the streets.
“I think I was your age when I was like looking at some people in my family people that’s out there,” he said. “The relationships and a lot of abuse, a lot of different dysfunctions, I’m like ‘Oh my gosh, I don’t want to grow up and be like that.’”
Lark started his own cosmetology school on Chapin Street called Inspiration, what he wants to give to today’s youth. His first passenger was Mike Breashears, 13. Breashears’ mother made sure he was Lark’s first passenger.
“To keep myself from being in the streets and show me how to be a real man,” Breashears said.
While at New Horizons Outreach Ministry, Breashears was welcomed with open arms, what Lark hopes to continue with more local teens.
“Right now, young people are dying, young people are getting caught up,” Lark said.
He said the youth and gun violence has been going on for many years.
“I believe we need a shift and a turn in the direction of the mindset of people,” Lark said. “We can look at the state of our young people in and look at it in a state of a victim stand point and say, ‘Woe is us,’ or we can get up and fight.”