COLUMBUS (WCMH) – With rising crime rates in Columbus, one group of teens enrolled in a summer program called Pathways to Progress are trying to take back their city by showing what community is all about.
The organizer of Pathway to Progress, Tei Street, said the program brought about 70 kids together from Columbus City Schools, Westerville South, and Reynoldsburg to get involved in a work-ready program.
Within the program, participants get to learn about how to get prepared for college and the workforce. For one specific project, they were challenged to find two businesses in the Linden area to beautify while finding a way to work better together.
The teens chose Beauty All Over and Ena’s Caribbean Kitchen to renovate the outside. They were then asked to create designs of what they would like to see and given $10,000 to help make that vision come to life.
“We wanted to show people that there’s more that Linden has to offer,” Harrison Warren, one of the program’s participants.
He said people usually associate Linden with gun violence, but he knows there’s also some good in the area. It’s what inspired the teens to create murals that represent strength, resilience, and asking people to put the guns down.
“I hope that they see this not only as a reminder of where they live and who they are, but as their own type of escape,” Warren said. “They’ll see this, they’ll enjoy the art, and see that people our age are doing this and it’ll inspire them to go and do things like this out on their own.”
The kids were also given laptops for their hard work and in hopes of getting them inspired and continue doing uplifting things like this everywhere.