Community leaders came together Friday to kick off Youngstown’s Community Initiative to Reduce Violence . The main idea is to give kids something to do over the summer in the hopes of reducing violence.
“I want everyone to say that with me one time, ‘Stop the violence!’ That’s the message that we’ve been portraying around our city,” said Pastor Will Peterson, C.I.R.V. partner.
Numerous partnerships throughout the city will be involved in the program. Coordinator Guy Burney said research consistently shows that kids who are idle get into trouble, which is why several activities are planned throughout the summer ranging from football and basketball to golf and tennis, just to name a few.
“There’s going to be a character component attached,” said Burney. “There’s going to be character coaches that tell them about life and how to make better choices.”
A big part of the initiative is the student volunteers who will be serving as mentors. Summit Academy seniors Tabraya Dow and Roosevelt Simmons said the program is important because kids need a place to go and things to do, and this program provides that.
“Kids get into trouble when they are bored,” said Dow. “If they have programs like this, it helps them stay out of trouble.”
Crime rates are down in the city and organizers stress the need for involvement to keep that trend going.
“It provides a new loophole for a student or young adult to escape the violence or other conflicts that may come up in their life,” said Simmons.
The program is open to children of all ages and begins June 17. All events will be posted on the city of Youngstown’s website. For more information, click here.