COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A new program starting soon is trying to keep at-risk youth out of trouble.
The program, the Parent Enrichment Program, was announced Wednesday and applications are now open.
The program won’t only be focused on the children; it’s about making a plan for the whole family.
All too often, there is news of shootings involving children in Columbus, and now city and community leaders are hoping a new program helps steer children in the right direction before they consider violence as a solution.
“We want to catch them before they start getting out there and kind of doing that, just give them another way,” said Charles Hill, vice-president of the Columbus Urban League, which is organizing the program.
The urban league will start the program using $350,000 in city money.
“That’s one of the biggest ones, the one thing that we’ve seen when we were speaking with some judges and juvenile system, is that the kids who have the parents more involved are less likely to revisit the system,” Hill said.
The program will be open to children 11 to 17 years old. Hill said they will be working with parents and their children, putting together family plans, improving communication, and trying to create a better connection between parents and their children.
“We want them to be and know that ‘Hey, listen. You did this, but you also can do this,” said Ralph Carter, one of the program’s leaders.
The program will work with children who have already had some involvement with the judicial system as well as those who could be at risk.
“We’re not saying these are bad kids whatsoever,” Hill said. “These are not bad kids. These are kids that we just need to redirect their energy and give them something positive to do and so we’re really excited about it.”
Applications for the program are now open, with the first group starting on July 6.
Organizers plan to work with more than 50 children over the next year.