Saturday, March 26, 2005

Streetwise group gets great ink in effort to head off city violence.

Great service. Nice ink.
Streetwise group trying to head off city violence ... soldiers tackle some common goals -- mentoring, resolving conflicts, intervening in crises and guiding clients through the human services system.

The group also has had impact with the launch of Community Days, neighborhood picnics in Manchester and Beltzhoover, and summer basketball programs, most notably a revived league at the Hill District's Kennard Park, which drew thousands.

Garland said it was critical that One Vision, One Life continue to work closely with churches, community groups and schools. 'We're not the solution to all the violence in Allegheny County, but we do hope we can slow things down.'

L.B. is doing his part. He supervises basketball teams in Northview Heights and volunteers at Shuman Juvenile Detention Center.

'I was one of those people that was the problem,' he said. 'Now I'm trying to solve the problem.'

Programs such as this are fine. We need them because of the crisis.

We've ignored the leagues, the basketball, the coaching, the youth. We've let the kid's fend for themselves -- and trouble results. We have not been healthy.

This program is about prevention -- and some of it is about wellness. We need an attitude that services those who are going to hang at the sandlots and those at the stadiums can fend for themselves for a while.

Those 20-year olds who were part of the problem and are now trying to to help solve the problem need people like me who have never been part of the problem and are keenly interested in helping to solve the problem too. This is a teamwork approach. This is a winning approach.

Together we need to fix this -- not just with the king's horses and king's men. All of us need to be part of the solutions. And, its hard and messy.

Sadly, those on Grant Street have been okay with their shutdowns. They close a rec center and don't care. They punt and hope Elsie Hillman will come up with some cash and "save our summer." Trouble brews as many on Grant Street who do want to help don't want to help in ways that make the most sense. They want to help in their feel good kinda ways.

I want good grief and response from trusted, valued, buddies on the streets in day to day instances. Sure, we need to give these guys a raise. Let's engage. Let's find common ground in accountability on all sectors.

But, by all means possible, let's not stop there. These in the trenches operations are NOT going to be able to get us to prosper.

We also need others on other fronts but in the same neighborhoods to be planting seeds that allow opportunities to soar. We need to get these kids to live past next summer. And, we need to know that some are going to Cornell, Princeton and Case Western.

By the way, when is the next picnic? Perhaps we'll toss one for you in the summer. Call me, 412-298-3432, and we'll set a date. How about a China theme? We'll do noodles or dumplings, and something with authentic spices. Want to help? Leave a comment or send an email.

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