With youth violence on the rise, a mentor fights to make a difference

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Kareem Hines is fighting to make a difference in the lives of young men with a mentorship program he launched in 2005.

INDIANAPOLIS — The number of young homicide victims continues to rise this year, and those behind the guns aren’t much older.

On Thursday, two teenagers were arrested for murder. A day later, a 14-year-old boy was shot dead when he allegedly broke into a house.

(Note: The video in the media player is a 13News report on Safe Summer, a youth program that includes mentorship from Kareem Hines.)

Later on Friday there was another shooting, this time at a funeral home, targeting people already mourning a young man killed in a shooting last week.

“A fourteen-year-old shot, a 15-year-old shot, they don’t give a name, so it’s two or three minutes before the news comes in when you know, more often than not, that it going to be someone we know,” said Kareem Hines, founder of the New BOY (New Breed of Youth) mentorship and youth development program.

That’s why Hines fights so hard to make a difference in the lives of young men. In 2005, he launched a mentorship program, and each year it has grown.

“We get our boys together four or five days a week, and it’s a community program,” Hines said. “We try to make them understand that you don’t just affect each other when it happens, whether you’re the aggressor or the victim, it’s a whole family.”

Part of it includes a boxing program called “guns down, gloves up”. Hines said he teaches young men conflict resolution that doesn’t translate to pulling the trigger.

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“Before we put on the gloves, let’s discuss gun violence and what it really does and how much heart it doesn’t take to pull the trigger, but how much heart it takes to put your hands up,” Hines said. . “We try to make them understand that you don’t just affect each other when it happens, whether you’re the perpetrator or the victim, it’s a whole family.”

Hines and other leaders are trying to get ahead of the ongoing violence, especially as the summer months approach.

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“There are resources in this town and there are programs that help children. Our philosophy is connection before correction. I want to connect not just with the young man, but with his family,” Hines said.

He said connecting starts with getting on their level.

“Before, it was cool to say, ‘I’ll meet them halfway.’ You can’t meet the youngsters halfway anymore. We have to come down to their level and then we lift them up and build them up,” he said.

It’s something that parents, mentors, and leaders can all do.

“Let’s work together in this city. We are doing a great job. Let’s start connecting with each other and put aside the egos, the attitude, because once we start connecting as leaders, the kids will follow,” Hines said.

The city is also bringing back its Safe Summer program for teens, of which Hines is a part. It will offer free activities in city parks between June and August every Friday evening.

Currently, they are looking for community partners to volunteer their time and resources. If you know of a group that would be interested in this effort, click here.

Ways to contribute include monetary donations, snacks, meals and beverages and the provision of activities such as sports, fitness, digital or fine arts and mindfulness programs.

Learn more about New BOY and how to register here.

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