EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been edited to accurately reflect the victim’s age.
INDIANAPOLIS — Youth advocates are advocating for community involvement after a 17-year-old was injured in a shooting this week. The student attends VOICES Corp, an Indy nonprofit organization that raises awareness and provides educational alternatives for young people.
The teenager is specifically enrolled in the VOICES day program.
“They get their high school credits, they get workforce development, a lot of social/emotional development, a lot of mentoring, that kind of stuff,” said general manager Kia Wright. .
Fortunately, the teenager should be fine.
“There were so many that weren’t,” Wright said. “We have lost a few in recent years. Some of them are currently in Marion County Jail facing murder charges. This thing never gets easy.
Jacob is also a student who attends VOICES. He said the news of a peer being shot saddens him.
He also said the organization helps him reach his potential.
“VOICES actually shows you how to change and, like that, brings out the real you in everything,” Jacob said. “It takes all the bad and really turns it into positive things.”
Jacob said he hopes more adults will see value in playing a role in the lives of young people.
“The reason I think the community should get involved to keep us safe is because it could change the world, you know,” Jacob said.
Wright said she knew this job could not be given up.
“Make sure they understand this is real life,” Wright said. “There are real consequences in life. People love you and they’ll miss you if you’re in jail or dead.
Wright said she urges parents and mentors to stay involved in teens’ lives, especially when it comes to social media.
“Their profiles show a full story of who their peers are, where they’re going,” Wright explained. “The activities they participate in. They just need to be in the know, ask questions, meet their other friends’ parents, show up at school.”
Wright said she hopes everyone notices the young people around them.
“Talk to these kids, hug these kids,” Wright said. “Tell them they have potential. They don’t hear it anywhere else.
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