Local program aims to help kids break cycle of violence in Charlotte schools

CHARLOTTE — A local program designed to help kids in our community is tackling the recent increase in violence in Charlotte schools.

“The violence that kids are involved in, school violence, you know guns in schools, fights and all this stuff, I think they’re a lot of root causes that we have to address,” Executive Director of Promise Youth Development Tesha Boyd said.

Promise Youth Development is a nonprofit designed to teach kids conflict resolution skills and ways of coping with issues they may have.

The organization mentors elementary through high school students and teaches them how to deal with real-life situations.

“It’s so easy to get into trouble so we teach them life skills, we teach them about consequences, we teach them about their thoughts and how their thoughts kind of lead to actions,” Boyd said. “The violence that kids are involved in. I think they’re a lot of root causes that we have to address.”

Those who have taken part in the program said it’s a great way to get things off their chest, knowing someone is there who will listen.

Sometimes it’s hard to express the way you feel sometimes and it’s good to have an outlet, somebody to talk to at all times,” program participant Lamont Daniel said.

“Some of the things they’re experience I’ve been there, I’ve done that and I can show them that there’s a positive way to get through that,” Tim Gerald, an officer with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department, said. “We’re trying to get them on track, so they won’t make some of the mistakes their peers have made. We don’t want them to have to deal with the police other than in a positive situation.”

On Monday, a gun was fired on West Charlotte High School’s campus. So far this year, 24 guns have been found in Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools.

However, district leaders have said that changes are coming through with the implementation of a clear backpack policy, possible instillation of metal detectors and the use of an anonymous app where students can submit complaints.

Promise Youth Development mentors said they also have a few solutions they would like to share.

“They just want someone to hear them, listen to them, without the judgement, to help them make better choices,” Boyd said. “It takes a village to do something.”

Students can participate in a Promised Youth Development program for free year-round. Parents can find more information about how to sign up here.

(WATCH BELOW: CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston addresses school safety)