Group works to inspire, keep youth off the streets

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Keeping youth involved and off the streets is the goal of one Memphis organization.

Earlier this week, officials released new statistics that show high numbers of violent crimes in Memphis are committed by younger people.

The Memphis Public Safety Institute released crime figures through the first six months of this year and compared it to crime this time last year.

Organizations like UCAN of Memphis are finding ways to involve more youth and keep them off the streets.

"A lot of these teens really need a mentor and that's exactly what we do," said executive director Leshundra Robinson. "We mentor our middle and high school students on leadership, so if they are a better leader, then they can help with the crime in the city."

The city of Memphis released data that shows the 12.2 decrease in murders from the first 6 months of this year compared to this time last year.

However, the major violent crime rate has increased by 9.9 percent.

Dare to Dream is one of many organizations in Memphis put in place to help guide kids to succeed and not the streets.

"They are creating things for us to do as young people because most of the crime revolves around young people," said Tatyanna Gibbs, a senior at Bolton High School. "We need the youth to also be involved in these programs."

Memphis Police Department said reducing crime is a top priority, and organizers like Robinson remain positive in the youth of Memphis.

"Encourage them and inspire them so when they do go to school they will be empowered by what's going to happen in their community," Robinson said.

Gibbs also has a message for her peers.

"Young people, go online because Memphis has a lot of programs for young people, and most of them are free," Gibbs said.

To learn more, visit their website.

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