INDIANAPOLIS — For the first time in nearly two years, a local youth mentorship program is opening enrollment for its summer program.
Young Men Inc. volunteers and mentors hope to support double the number of children they typically see during their summer program – approximately 30 to 65 children.
“We are looking to increase our numbers to at least about 65 boys,” said Reverend Malachi Walker, founder and director of Young Men Inc. “The last two years we have only been able to reach 30 [boys] and we normally have around 100 boys in the summer camp every year.
Young Men Inc. is open to boys ages 8-18, but registrations over the past two years have been capped at around 30 kids due to the pandemic.
“If parents need anything to get their son involved, it’s positive, it’s a learning environment, a safe environment and teaching boys how to grow up and be men – Young Men Inc. is this program,” the Reverend said. Walker.
Reverend Walker said the goal of his program is to give young men a safe environment to have fun while learning important leadership skills and good decision-making.
“A lot of young men who start in this program come back year after year, year after year,” said Reverend Walker.
Jayse Evans is one of many boys who have returned for several years in a row. He will be 15 next week and was enrolled in the program by his mother when he was 10 years old.
“She told me it was army based, so I was scared at first, but I went there the first day and I was like ‘Oh, that’s not so bad'” , said Evans. “I made quite a few friends.”
Young Men Inc. separates the boys by ‘ranking’ – from ‘soldiers’ to ‘chief counselor’.
“Some kids don’t feel recognized, but I feel like here you’ll be fully recognized like I was when I was a little younger,” Evans said.
Reverend Walker said now was the perfect time to open registration. Not only is the spread of COVID-19 starting to decline, but so is violent crime in Indianapolis.
“It’s a good sign that a lot of programs – like Young Men Inc., but there are a lot of programs in this town that are doing great work – are taking advantage of the lower crime factors,” Rev. Walker said. . “It just shows that we are on the right track. We must keep this path. We need to continue those programs that are out there on the front lines in the city and doing great things. »
According to the latest figures from the IMPD, homicides have decreased by 23.73% compared to the same period last year. Murders, or intentional homicides, are down 25.86%.
“We can really put a stop to this crime and we can see it continue to come down,” Reverend Walker said. “And that’s what we seek to do.”
For more information on Young Men Inc. or to apply for their summer program, click here.
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