Volunteerism and Mentorship Could Curb City Violence

By Rachel Martin
By Emily Dwire

March 24, 2013 Updated Mar 24, 2013 at 7:08 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) – With all the violence and negativity happening lately in Fort Wayne, many are looking for something positive.

Since the Allen County coroner declared there have been 11 homicides so far this year, people are looking for ways to stop the gun violence. Community meetings are being held to brain storm solutions, but Chip Clark, Ministry Coordinator for the City Life Primetime Community Center (3701 S. Calhoun), says he believes using what Fort Wayne already has to offer, instead of coming up with something new, could be an answer.

“There are a number of different places that we know are out there, but we don’t take advantage of them or know exactly what they do. But we’re missing some key pieces and that’s the people in this community to embrace them,” said Clark.

Clark named off a dozen community organizations including the Euell Wilson Center, Growing Minds, Fort Wayne Girls Rock, My Brother’s Keeper, and Always 100, among many others, who offer family and youth services. Clark says it’s just a matter of getting the word out to the community.

“It does us no good to be the best kept secret, no matter what organization you are,” he said. “Our kids will know about every party that’s going on in the city…and I want to make that happen with youth organizations in this area.”

He went on to say, “Some of the kids who end up lost in the streets, or some of the families that may not have the opportunity or even know that there is an opportunity for their kids to be tutored or mentored, we want to let it be known. We want to get the word out as much as possible.”

In terms of finding ways to curb and end the violence, Clark says not only does the community need to be informed of opportunities, but people need to become involved.

“We need volunteers. We need surrogate mothers and surrogate fathers that are going step in and fill those gaps knowing the situations that are going on out there. That's what we need,” he said.

In addition to volunteers and mentorship, Clark says organizations need funding for relevant programming as well.

“When we give them something to do and it’s relevant to this day in age, they will come,” he said.

Clark says Fort Wayne already has everything it needs to perpetuate positivity throughout the community, it’s just a matter of using it to create a safer environment.

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