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Program Tackling Youth Violence Plans To Expand In Cleveland Neighborhoods

A group of pastors and volunteers involved with the Cleveland Ten Point Coalition walk the streets of the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood one night a week. They try to reach out to young people in the east side community in an effort to prevent youth violence. The program began in Cleveland last fall.

They met Friday with national and regional leaders to discuss next steps including adding more boots on the ground, raising awareness for more volunteers, and securing funding for stipends, said Regional Ten Point Director Reverend Charles Harrison.

"We’re able to get people off that path that’s going to lead either to them ending up in prison or jail, or in the grave," Harrison said, "helping them to learn how to address their conflicts in nonviolent ways, in healthy ways, so that we reduce the level of, particularly, interpersonal conflict that normally leads to violence."

Harrison said the hope is to scale up the Mt. Pleasant program, "so they’re out on the streets, constantly, 5-6 nights a week, impacting particularly areas where they are having the highest level of violence." 

The program focuses on preventive measures to address the root causes of violence in the neighborhood, said Ohio Ten Point State Director Robert Kilo.

"Ten point is about opportunity for young men and women," Kilo said. "We want to get them in the actual economy, get them back to school, into addiction services, foster care, housing. There’s a lot of things that we’re finding are the needs. We don’t want young people to get punished. We want them to get liberated from that underground economy."

They also plan to expand to other neighborhoods on the west side of Cleveland.

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