Steering children away from violence

March 17, 2009 4:14:45 PM PDT
Some leaders at Drexel University introduced a new way to keep kids on the right track.

There's no easy way to solve this problem, but with the approach described at Drexel Tuesday morning the hope is that more people will step in to provide what is missing in the lives of many young people and the hope is that will eventually lead to a solution.

"We used to have parents that were involved more and they said this right and that's wrong."

Drexel professor, Charles Williams, is developing a mentoring program, aimed at reducing youth-related violence. He says too many parents are no longer monitoring or motivating their children.

"That's not happening so while we wait for that problem to be addressed we have to replace them unfortunately."

The Center of School Aged Violence will be housed in Drexel's Goodwin College of Professional Studies. Last week, the new Audenried High School in South Philadelphia opened to some of its old problems. Eight students were arrested when two fights broke out, the type of disturbances that are often precursors too much worse.

"Nationally, and of course Philadelphia is a microcosm of the country, our biggest concentration of killers and killed are somewhere between the ages of 14-24," said Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham.

"Over 3700 of our young people, I'm talking about juveniles under the age of 18 committed horrendous crimes," said Philadelphia Deputy Police Commissioner Charlotte Council.

That's a statistic for just last year. Early childhood is the best time to intervene, but role models can make a difference, as an uncle did for this West Philadelphia teenager.

"I didn't want to let my family down and I saw from experience what happens that's not the road for me," said Charles Robinson.

Dr. Williams says with this new program, he hopes to do more than serve and a mentor himself.

"I want to replicate that I want role models all over the city to mentor these young people, to inject some positively in a life that is surrounded by so much negativity."

Another alarming statistic more than 10,000 young people were arrested in Philadelphia last year, and that doesn't include the number committing crimes and getting away with it.

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