Impacting Youth Violence through Community
Tremaine James (aka “TJ”)—one of our Project L.E.A.D. graduates—recently earned a higher education scholarship. In his winning essay, he wrote about ways he and others will work to impact youth violence in positive ways. Congratulations, TJ!
Impacting Youth Violence through Community
By Tremaine James
An issue in the community that I want to address is a situation that many communities have-youth violence. Youth are doing horrible crimes especially in what are considered urban and minority neighborhoods. Neighborhoods that have a lot of crime are centered around gang violence and law enforcement shooting down males of color.
This issue is bad because the more this happens the more our politicians may create laws to segregate people of color. Crimes I hear youth committing most often are theft, drugs, armed robberies, and shootings. Why?
Factors that influence youth violence
1. Youth may be committing crimes of theft because of neglect by parents or older siblings. Therefore, they take from others to cope with pain or neglect.
2. Drugs are a problem with youth. Youth feel angry, sad or hurt and use drugs to feel better. Sometimes youth feel like no one cares for them and the drugs make them feel happier or less stressed. They will also sell drugs to get money for things they need or want.
3. Some youth commit armed robberies because of gangs in their neighborhoods or schools. They want to be accepted in a gang. Youth also see armed robberies on television and they want to imitate what they see. They also want to make money on the side or rob to get money for drugs or to get stuff they need or want.
4. Youth are shooting others because of being bullied, mental problems or for revenge. I believe youth are shooting others to make themselves feel superior.
Youth crimes affect not just the youth themselves but others. When you know someone who is a thief, you lose trust in them and you feel weird by being around them at school. Younger children see older siblings committing crimes and want to try it also. But, living around such crime can also turn youth down a positive path, especially when they see friends and family going to jail or being killed.
In addition, when you have been robbed, you are afraid to go to school or walk in the neighborhood. Innocent children and adults are getting killed and it affects the whole community. Parents are sad and disappointed because they didn’t raise their children to commit these crimes.
Addressing youth violence
How would I address youth violence? Life would be so much better if we could have more youth centers in neighborhoods as safe places especially for youth who fear going home or to school. The center could be a place for sports tournaments, music, and positive interaction. The center would have different sports like curling, ping-ping, golf, chess that urban youth may not be use to. The center would also have a gym to play basketball and a field to play soccer and football.
Second, youth need more job opportunities. I would like to start a business so I can hire more youth. This will keep them from being around negative people and environments and a way to make money for themselves and not rob others.
Third, youth also need committed adults who will take time to listen and guide them in the right direction. Many youth are bored, lost and seeking someone to care about what’s going in their life. I believe, if more youth were raised by families and communities who care, then there would be less violence.
Finally, I am a curious young person and I like solving problems and issues in my neighborhood. I know mentors and business people who can help me get started on these ideas. Be About Change and Family Foundation are two organizations that could mentor me and youth to achieve their dreams, goals and point us in the right direction.
The roadblocks that would keep me from implementing these ideas are friends/classmates that would steer me down the wrong path. My goal is to stay away from people that will get me in trouble.
I can also hinder myself by not doing what is expected of me in the classroom or not learning as much as I can about these ideas I want to implement. My goal is to go down the right path and to take as many youth with me as I CAN!
Help Students Achieve
Your donations help provide scholarships for students like TJ. By impacting young hearts and minds with scholarships, you not only facilitate more access to higher education, you also show our youth we are all in this together – an attitude that yields exponential returns for generations to come. Thank you for your generosity, and please continue to help students achieve. Please consider making a donation.