WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay said his department is seeing a rise in gang activity, and with summer right around the corner, the chief called a meeting with several community action programs.
“There’s not enough, there’s not enough of us right here. We need more of this right here,” said Angel Martinez, Love Your Community volunteer.
Program coordinators came together on Tuesday to figure out how to help vulnerable kids.
“In that meeting today, I saw a lot of really good people and a lot of passionate people,” said Martinez.
Paired with help from WPD, the goal is to cut down on gang activity and membership.
“When they are out on these street, they look up to some of these older gang members,” said a patrol officer.
Chief Gordon Ramsay is turning to his community for some help.
“It’s going to have to be a collective effort,” said Justin White, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club.
With uniformed cops and community organizations, they’re working to plan more events to keep kids off the streets.
Angel Martinez knows the dangers of gangs, and the power it has over young kids.
“I am an ex-gang member,” said Martinez.
From gangs to now dabbing with an officer’s daughter in the picture, he said his faith and investment from mentors changed his life.
Now, he is the president of Love Your Community, and he coaches youth football.
He said this meeting is a huge step forward. Even just getting on the same email list as many of the other organizers.
“Up until now, I think the problem was that nobody knew what was out there. And I think once we get together that we are going to do a lot of good for Wichita and we are going to make a big impact,” said Martinez.
An impact that can change a life like Chase Scott.
“I was told that the people you hang around is how you act. I didn’t believe it until I started acting that way,” said the high school senior.
After meeting his mentor and joining Rise Up for Youth, he’s getting ready for graduation tomorrow and will soon be playing college football.
Proof that as more programs are organized, more lives can be changed.
“It could be a huge change, it could be a huge impact on a young person’s life,” said Scott.
The group plans to meet again in two weeks. They plan to bring former gang members, and kids who have overcome difficult pasts, to tell their stories and share what they think can be done.