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Toledo community group works to end youth violence

Toledo WTVG logo Toledo WTVG 5/6/2021 Kayla Molander
a sign on the side of a building: Community group Coalition of Adults for the Betterment of Youth say there are too many memorials like this around Toledo, and youth violence needs to stop. © Provided by Toledo WTVG Community group Coalition of Adults for the Betterment of Youth say there are too many memorials like this around Toledo, and youth violence needs to stop.

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - We’ve heard the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child,” but the message from the Toledo community is that if we don’t start building a village for our kids, we’re going to keep digging their graves.

On Monday, a 17-year-old was arrested and charged in connection to a double murder in March. One week later, on Elliott Avenue, a 16-year old was shot while standing outside an abandoned house. Around the same time, police say a 15-year-old shot and killed one person while firing at police officers who were doing a suspect stop at a gas station.

Also in March of this year, a 17-year-old was found guilty of the 2019 murder of a woman at an afternoon house party at Dexter and Chestnut.

These are just a few of the incidents involving teenagers in the past few months. Now parents and local leaders are coming together to talk about how to stop the violence. Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz announced a slew of summer programming Monday to keep kids occupied and off the streets. The Coalition of Adults for the Betterment of Youth (CABY) wants to take it even further.

“Too many are dying, there’s too many funerals,” says June Boyd, former Toledo City Councilwoman, and facilitator of CABY. She brought people together Wednesday night to discuss how to save Toledo’s children from violence.

“The thing that’s most disturbing is that young people, minors, are getting killed, and being killed,” she says.

But kids are also pulling the trigger, an issue the coalition wants to address. They’re calling for harsher punishments for adults who allow guns to fall into kids’ hands. City leaders were invited to join in the discussion. None showed up.

“I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt that they had other engagements,” says Boyd.

Mark Vaughn has been running the Chico Vaughn basketball camp since the 70′s. Now that the city is investing in youth programs, he’s hoping to expand so every child in every neighborhood has access to a basketball program.

“There’s so many things that could be done here in Toledo with programming for the youth because there’s nothing for them to, there’s nothing at all,” says Vaughn.

John Krochmalny, a member of the Sylvania Baháʼí Community, would like to see more opportunities for mentoring in Toledo, so young people can learn constructive ways to solve their problems.

“For the violence to end in a shooting and death, it’s the ultimate betrayal to mankind,” he says.

The coalition also unveiled a new film by Grindworks Media calling for an end to the violence.

“We have too many memorials. We have to start building places for them to have recreation rather than having memorials,” says Boyd in the film.

A spokesperson for the city provided 13abc with the following statement to explain the government’s absence from the meeting:

“Neither the mayor nor any of the senior staff knew about the meeting, unfortunately. I know there were other meetings this evening, but we would have liked to attend this meeting. It’s always been the mayor’s practice to meet with residents regularly.”

Boyd has vowed to follow up with local government.

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