One message was repeated by several officials at last night’s safety forum: enforcement and arrests won’t ever be able to solve our problems with kids and violence. So one key part of the meeting was a call to action for the community to get involved on the prevention side, by volunteering and supporting the organizations that already work with our youth in the neighborhood.
A variety of group leader attended and made their pitches to the crowd for support. And I’ll be totally honest: it seems like many leaders in the community service world have a problem speaking plainly and communicating what they need. I’m sure they’re all doing some good things, but in several cases it was very difficult to get a real feel for what a group was trying to accomplish and how people could help.
But here’s two groups that had a clearly defined mission and good opportunities for citizen involvement:
Rotary Boys and Girls Clubs: Patrick Carter gave a rousing speech about being “fed up with these kids killing each other.” He said the Boys and Girls Club has been active in the community since 1954, serving up to 100 kids every day with after school activities to keep the off the streets and involved in things that challenge them in positive ways. But they’re under severe pressure due to government budget cuts and need to raise $1 million soon. You can donate online, or contact them to volunteer your time.
YMCA: Paula Houston is in charge of a very successful branch of the YMCA at 23rd & E. Olive. They’ve got a successful set of after school programs that could definitely use your help. Visit their website to find out how to volunteer or make a donation.
Here’s some other programs that were mentioned that you might be interested in supporting:
Street Soldiers – Alive & Free – Work to addresses the disease of violence
City Year – “Taps the power of 17-24 year olds with leadership development through service learning.”
Austin Foundation – “Transforming lives through fitness”
Seattle Young People’s Project – “The Seattle Young People’s Project (SYPP) is youth being given a loudspeaker for our opinions and views — a loudspeaker that is often denied us because of our age…”
Stay tuned for part 3: Community Q&A