Kalamazoo’s Life Camp to help young people find a path away from gun violence
June 9, 2023
When you’re talking to young people about gun violence, you never know who’s in the audience, says James Harris.
Those involved in shootings in Kalamazoo and other cities have included youths who were already headed down a path to violence and crime, as well as those who seemed to be on a path to a promising future, according to Harris, outreach manager for Urban Alliance Inc. of Kalamazoo.
“As we look at mass shootings in our nation, a lot of those kids were in normal classrooms,” Harris says of youths who became shooters. Realizing that an armed shooter could be anyone, the Urban Alliance staff wants to talk to as many young people as it can this month.
Partnering with several other community organizations, Urban Alliance is inviting young people ages 11 to 16 to attend its second annual Life Camp, three successive day camps in which participants will take part in discussions and activities designed to help them avoid gun violence and learn to differentiate between acceptable and unacceptable gun uses.
“We want to educate and encourage youth to turn away from gun violence,” says Terra Bautista, executive director of Urban Alliance. “We want youth to know that they have hope and a future. We want to provide space for them to be an active part of positive change in our community.”
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