Several local groups and community activists are uniting on April 24 for a four-hour retreat designed to help young men make better life choices and avoid streetgangs. Mayor Carl Brewer will open the retreat, which is scheduled from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club, 2400 N. Opportunity Drive.
Real Men Real Heroes, Teen Heroes, Real Men Inc., Curtis Middle School and community activist David Gilkey are joining forces in an effort to curb youth violence, save youth from a streetgang lifestyle and encourage young men to stay on the right path.
“As we transition from spring to summer, we also transition into the mean and busy season for streetgang activity,” Gilkey said. “It’s critical that we bring together our resources and experiences to help young men make better choices.”
Organizers expect about 150 youth – from honor roll students to teens needing role models – to attend. The youth will meet two dozen men already active in mentoring, tutoring and gang-intervention efforts.
One scheduled speaker, the Rev. Riccardo Harris, will share the painful story of losing his son, Robert Ridge, to random gang violence. Ridge, 19, was in his car at a stoplight when he was shot to death because a gang member didn’t like the way Robert looked at him.
“We have to do what we can to stop such senseless acts of violence,” Mayor Brewer said. “We need to help these young men make better choices and fulfill their potential in ways that serve them, their families and their community.”
For more information, please contact Gilkey at (316) 312-5705 or Real Men Real Heroes Board President Buddy Shannon at (316) 734-6076.