Programs for Indy’s young people net success in spite of violence

Data pix.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — While IMPD investigates crimes across the city, there are young people working diligently to rise above their circumstances. Monday, two teams met at D1 Training Indianapolis for a friendly game of basketball.

Tristan Jones is Job Corps student in Indy. Job Corps is a national residential program which allows people ages 16 to 24 to complete their high school education and secure job certification. Casby Williams, a peacemaker for the City of Indianapolis, is knowledgeable about the program and said students must secure housing, complete a training certification and a job. The program typically last nine months.

"It's a dream come true, everybody don't get a blessing to do it," Jones said. "It's like free food, they pay for everything, and it's basically like another chance for life."

Jones told CBS4 he was going down a challenging path before Job Corps, but the program is changing him and the other young people in the program.

"Job Corps will change you," Jones said. "You gonna go in there with a childish mindset, but the time you're there it's going to mature you and stuff. Like, I didn't know how to do laundry until I came to Job Corps."

Jones added his faith has also played a role in keeping him on the path to success.

"Get a Bible, get to reading and try to do something you know will motivate you to get out the streets," Jones challenged.

Across the court, New B.O.Y., or New Breed of Youth, was Job Corps' opponents for the game, but the youth involved in the program are trying to do the same thing—find a better, more productive life.

"We work on character development, self esteem, humility, personal accountability, and as you can see, sports," Founder Kareem Hines said. "We work with a lot of men who are unfortunately in the juvenile justice system or have some exposure to the Department of Child Services. So what we try to do is put a mentor team around these young men to get them on a positive track."

New B.O.Y. serves children and teens between the ages of 6 and 18. A positive change for those in this group might look different than it does for others.

"Success for us with these young men is staying out of juvenile, being home for the holidays, about 60 percent of the young men behind me have not been home for the holidays in the last two or three years, unfortunately," Hines said.

But Hines said he is seeing progress in his boys every day. He said exposure from adults who have a positive impact on them works wonders.

"Just expose them to something different," Hines said. "These young men, and young ladies for that matter, they have this mindset of, 'If you don't hear me, I'm going to make you hear me.' So, we're going to hear them in their voice. Their voice is the pants down over their buttocks. Their voice is going downtown and robbing people. They will make us hear them, so we just have to make them hear us in a positive way like this."

As a peacemaker, Williams said more mentors are needed.

"That mentor is able to engage with that young person, see what they like, what they don't like, what they're into, what they can't share with other people," Williams said. "A mentor is able to connect with a young person on a personal level, not like a parent and not like a teacher."

Some of the mentorship groups through the City of Indianapolis include New B.O.Y., VOICES, B4U Fall, and Inner Beauty.

The City of Indianapolis' Peacemakers along with the Office of Public Health and Safety are planning to go into schools this winter to talk with youth about gun violence and gun safety.

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