INDIANAPOLIS — So far, there have been five juvenile homicides in the month of November in Indianapolis.
It’s made for a record year of juvenile violence — something that isn’t lost Indy’s youths and their parents.
”It impacts us profoundly because we’re losing our babies,” said Kareem Hines, the founder of New Breed of Youth Development or New BOY.
Five teenagers from the ages of 13 to 17 have been shot and killed in Indianapolis this month. It hits too close to home for the kids Hines and New BOY mentor.
”They’re losing their friends,” Hines said. “They are losing their family members, and we have to put them in a position where they can process that pain and that trauma in a healthy way.”
On Saturday morning, New BOY and Evolve Mentoring teamed up to put on a flag football tournament for young men of all ages.
”We teach life skills through sports,” Hines said. “We teach character development, we teach conflict resolution through sports.”
The flag football matchups also connect kids from different parts of the Circle City.
”If we want to see some of this violence stop, we have to start getting these kids together who don’t know each other in a position where we can teach them how to handle conflict in a peaceful way,” Hines said.
For the teens themselves, a fun Saturday morning means an escape from the more difficult parts of their lives.
”With the killings and all that, and being able to come out here and just have a good time and play and throw a football, have a game, I think it’s amazing,” said Cameron Washington, a 16-year-old New BOY member.
Washington said he’s lost friends to gun violence. He added that he was at Saturday’s flag football tournament to represent his friends.
”A lot of them are my friends,” Washington said. “A lot of them was my friends that got killed, got murdered. It’s sad, but I got to keep moving. I got to do something in their name.”
Through all of this, Hines hopes these young athletes realize one thing above all else.
“They can see somebody cares,” Hines said. “Our kids need to know somebody cares.”
New BOY meets multiple times a week. The organization hosted a community townhall after a recent youth homicide.
If you know someone who should be part of New BOY, or if you want to join the program as a mentor, you can find more information on the New BOY website.