Local youth organizations working to steer kids away from violence
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind., --- In our continued Guns in Michiana coverage we highlighted local youth organizations working to provide a positive outlet this summer to help steer kids away from violence.
More than 560 teens across the nation have been killed in gun violence incidents this year and some have been behind the trigger as well.
It's a big reason why leaders at the Boys & Girls Club are working to prevent local kids from becoming one of those statistics.
“If you don’t have the right people around you, or showing you the right things it’s easy to fall victim to that type of stuff,” said Quincey Washington, a youth development professional at Boys & Girls Club of St. Joseph County.
Washington is among other staff at the organization that focus on educational and character development work, something he believes is critical to help point kids in the right direction.
“The goal is to make sure we limit those numbers of kids who want to go to college, want to me successful in high school to stay out of the streets. Keep crime away and you can only do that by starting at the bottom and building to the top," he explained.
The Boys & girls Club St. Joseph County is among several other organizations targeting Michiana youth with free programs serving nearly 1,600 local kids this summer over nine.
“Places like Boys & Girls Club, Charles Martin Youth Center, Charles Black Center, the King Center are places where they can continue to interact with young people and at the same time have older people around them that can give them positive influence and direction,” said Lynn Coleman a community advocate and Former South Bend Police Officer.
Coleman is also working to prevent gun violence among kids and adults in Michiana and is set to host a peace rally on Sunday.
He believes it's not only crucial for youth to have positive role models, but also to be a part of the conversation.
“It’s extremely important for them to see and here stories of what violence and negative I’ve behavior does and has done to communities,” said Coleman.
“If I continue to lead by example I will have a bunch of followers behind me that are also ready to lead by example when their time comes,” added Washington.
The Boys & Girls club of St. Joseph County is at capacity for the summer but may have openings for the fall.
You can click here for more information.
The peace rally on Sunday, June 12 will be in front of the John Hunt Plaza in South Bend at 5pm.