INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Despite the surging violence in the city, youth advocates work tirelessly to empower young people in our community. Friday on the far east side, dozens of kids and their families gathered for the annual Pathway Resource Center’s Youth Anti-Violence & Drugs Summit.
“We’re going to be doing real-life scenarios with them today, and so that way if they do get put into a situation, they don’t have to think about what they would do,” Event Chair Leila Darden said. “It’s so important for us not to just tell them not to do drugs, not to do acts of violence, but I think it’s really important to show them how to.”
As the event began, the Pathway Resource Center honored 23 teens, ages 15-17, who finished the Training for Youth Success Program. They received a stipend for completing a month-long employment training program, and some teens received even more reward money for going above and beyond.
“It was very nice,” Graduate Ivory Jackson said. “I really like the whole clapping, it made me feel good!”
Carson Bullard said he enjoyed the exposure to college, the workforce, and IMPD’s training.
“Personally, I would say I’ve matured a little bit, actually,” Bullard said. “Cause now everywhere I go, I’ll ask what age are you guys hiring and stuff like that. So, in the job force, I would want to work.”
Graduate Andrew Bryson said the summit is a fun way to address a serious issue.
“We learned about saying no to drugs, as you said,” Bryson explained. “And, we should be in school learning and putting forth as much effort as we can into everything that we do.”
Seeing families enjoy this annual event brings joy to Committee Member Annie Smith.
“This is joyful, it’s interactive, and it kind of gets away from what we hear so much of,” Smith said. “This is fun stuff. This is what community is.”