INDIANAPOLIS – All the gun violence in the city has led one Indianapolis man to start a new mentorship league for kids.
“Today is registration day. They are running drills, doing workouts,” said parent Cookie Coleman.
It might look like just a normal football practice…
“It is a mentoring program but we use sports as a common denominator,” said the founder of Kareem Hines.
Hines is the founder of New Breed of Youth Development or New B.O.Y., a group focused on mentoring boys in Indianapolis.
“What we are trying to do with our program is trying to give them an outlet not only to release that pent-up energy and aggression and deal with that trauma but also connect with some adults,” said Hines.
New B.O.Y. created a league called the Playing for Peace Youth Sports Fellowship and Community Service Project.
Hines says they are looking for boys from 6 to 17 for the flag football season starting in just a few weeks.
“We have all these murders piling up in the city so we might as well have something positive to do,” said player Cameron Washington.
“The mentors who pour into them, it is a good thing. I have seen a change in my son,” said Coleman.
The league is 42 consecutive weeks of multiple sports for youth and family engagement in hopes to stop the violence in the city.
“Our problems that we are dealing with in our city and this country are not going to be solved overnight but what we can do is plant seeds,” said Hines.
Players say it can be a getaway from reality.
“Not having to worry about no shootings or any negative things happening in the community- a positive get-together,” said player Devin Berry.
“Just seeing everybody happy and see them grow and not even on the sports level, seeing them grow mentally, emotionally, physically,” said Washington.
The program is funded by a $100,000 anti-violence grant from the city of Indianapolis and the Office of Public Health and Safety.
“We want to connect with these young people any way we can but also with their families, which is why we have the music, we have the free food. We want this to be an old-school block party kind of vibe,” said Hines.
Saturday was the first day for registrations but Saturday, April 15 from 12-2:30 is another chance to enter the league.
You can register by calling Hines at (317) 869-5022, email at email@example.com or visiting the website at https://ibnbmentor.org/.