COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A group of friends in South Franklinton is working to make their community safer, hoping to do so through the game of soccer.

“We want every kid to be the best kids that they can be,” said Noor Ahmed.

Ahmed has just one wish, but he said getting the wish to actually come true will take a village.

“The kids were fading away and they were getting into violence, the street games, all of that,” he said. “We don’t want that.”

The 20-year-old has called the South Franklinton neighborhood home for years and is hopeful the game he’s grown to love is ultimately what keeps the children in his neighborhood on the right track.

After taking a leadership course at a local community center, Ahmed and some friends decided it was time to make his dreams – of soccer fields and a community league — a reality. Fed up with the crime in his neighborhood, he knew someone had to be the change.

“Why not?” Ahmed asked. “We will build something for the community that will help push them to go the right way and follow their dreams.”

The group’s efforts got a boost in the form of a donation from Dick’s Sporting Goods; a $16,000 donation from the retailer announce Wednesday to help see their vision through, plus the support of several volunteers and community partners.

But the ceremony announcing the financial award comes just one day after Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein announced his office filed a lawsuit to declare the nearby Southpark Apartments a public nuisance. According to Klein, the 365-unit apartment received 800 calls for police service in just 13 months, in addition to reports of stolen vehicles, stabbings, and overdoses.

The complex sits right next to the future community field, only stressing the need for a safe haven for these neighborhood children.

“It’s a dream come true because… because at first. we imagined it. but now, our words became actions,” Ahmed said.

There is no date as to when the fields will be completed. Once open, there will be a soccer league for children ages 6-8.