Indianapolis group partners with Boy Scouts to reduce youth crime and violence

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 7, 2015) -- Leading kids on a path to a successful future and not a life of crime. That is the mission behind an effort to develop more Boy Scout groups in the urban cores in Marion County.

Recently, we've told you about a lot of crime and violence involving children. There was a young boy who, police say, robbed a CVS store. There was also a huge fight involving teens at a local mall. Reverend Charles Harrison, president of the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition, is part of this effort because stopping youth violence is one of his main objectives.

"We've already seen this year as young as 10 years old," Harrison said. "We've seen 10, 11, 12, 13 year old's now with guns."

That is why Rev. Harrison is all for the partnership with the Boy Scouts of America.

"We have it here at our church, here at Barnes (UMC), and we have seen several young men go on to be eagle scouts," Harrison said.

He wants to focus on six areas of the city including 16th Street and Tibbs Avenue and 29th Street and MLK. Harrison was called by Jim Morris of the Indiana Pacers, whose family is heavily involved in the Scouts, inviting him out to lunch Thursday with Patrick Sterrett. Sterrett, who is the CEO of Boy Scouts of America, Crossroads of America Council, says Hoosier youths need structure and role models.

"There's a different avenue for them, there's different opportunities that aren't just related to street violence or gang violence," Sterrett said.

Forming new Boy Scout groups costs money, yet Sterrett says there's something that's more important than that.

"The number one priority is having good, strong African-American role models step up for us and let us help them run some programs and be good mentors for kids," Sterrett said.

A presentation needs to be put together, and Reverend Harrison wants to assemble a group of pastors to strengthen this effort.

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