WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – There have been 38 homicides in Wichita so far this year which is already more than in 2019. Of those, 10% have been with people 18 and under.
“The streets are calling their names and believe it or not the streets ain’t lost a fight yet,” said David Gilkey, Rise Up for Youth co-founder.
He says the harsh reality is that activity can lead to caution tape and a trip to the coroners.
“I know what it’s like to get that call at 2-3 in the morning of a young person losing their life. Because I done lost 20 young men because of gang violence and violence since I’ve been doing this work,” he said.
The co-founder of the mentor group says the shootings are a city-wide issue, and it will take everyone’s help.
Rise Up for Youth is one of the local groups working to bring a solution to the table.
Gilkey says it starts with investing in the youth.
“We just trying to be there for them let them know, ‘Hey, if you need to talk we’re here. If you need to just vent a little bit if you even need to cry we’re here for you to be a shoulder to cry on. We’re here for you.'”
The Boys and Girls Club is also stepping up. They are offering programs like their Teen Learning Academy.
“One of the goals is that these kids are in a safe environment. So that they have those caring adults pouring into them,” said Anne Chandler, director of development for the Boys and Girls Club.
Chandler says they have hopes of expanding the program.
Meanwhile, they have been teaming up with other community groups to find solutions to end the violence.
“Those calls are taking place and we look forward to coming together as a community to support our youth,” she said.
As community leaders continue to brainstorm, they are hoping you will take action and talk to the kids in your life.
“Showing them some love and meeting them where they’re at and let them know there are some people here that really love you and care about you,” said Gilkey.
If you are interested in getting involved or learning more about Rise Up for Youth, click here.
For more information about the Teen Learning Academy program, click here. You can contact the Boys and Girls Club of South Central Kansas at (316) 201-1890.
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