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Urban Alliance to host Life Camp to steer youth sway from gun violence in Kalamazoo

June 10, 2024

With the goal to help provide area youth with tools and resources to step outside the cycles of gun violence within Kalamazoo, Urban Alliance will kick off its third annual Life Camp event Friday, June 14.

Shifting from the monthly offerings last summer and the year prior, Life Camp will now be a one-day event, which organizers say will encourage and support local youth in advocating for human dignity rather than participating in destructive behaviors that lead to gun violence.

Added to Life Camp this year will be a kickoff celebration held Friday, June 14, from 5:30- 8:30 p.m. at Urban Alliance with an evening of celebration for family, friends, and community partners.

The evening will feature the first Annual Youth Advocacy Competition, where middle school students can showcase their talents in six categories including drafting their own “I Have a Dream” speech, Dear Shooter letters, podcast participation, poster design, rap, and poetry or spoken word. The events are designed to give students the opportunity to express their feelings regarding group violence within Kalamazoo and advocate for peace.

Students must be registered to participate in the advocacy contest by June 10. The top three contestants in each category will each receive $100 for their courage, creativity, confidence, and advocacy for life.

Camp festivities will be held Saturday, June 15, from 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. at Sherman Lake YMCA Outdoor Center with a variety of activities including team building challenges and an ultimate treasure hunt.

Attendees will also be equipped through S.U.M. Fun Empowerment discussions.

Transportation to and from Sherman Lake and all meals for the day will be provided. Participants must be registered by June 10.

“If we want to continue to see change in our city, we must continue to empower youth and give them platforms for their voices to be heard loudly,” said Urban Alliance Outreach Manager James Haris.

Registration is available online at or in person at Urban Alliance.

Urban Alliance, Inc. was founded in 1999 with the mission of helping to break the cycle of generational poverty within Kalamazoo.

Read the article on Win Country.

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