DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Five children were shot in Durham over the last three days, with two of them dying. That means 15 juveniles have been shot just this year.
“Unfortunately, I have dealt with this type of situation, but not in the abundance and the frequency of the ways it’s happening now,” Boys & Girls Clubs of Durham and Orange Counties CEO Jerome Levisy said.
Levisy has worked in youth development for 25 years. In order to curb gun violence involving young people, he said everyone needs to come to the table to address the issue.
“We, as youth development professionals, have to be more intentional on connecting our resources to the community and especially those children who need us most,” Levisy said.
Additionally, DeWarren Langley is the chair of Durham County’s Juvenile Crime Prevention Council. He believes funding needs to be focused on child development resources, and he calls on parents to talk with teachers about resources, such as school counselors.
“I think one of the things where Durham is falling short is that we don’t have a centralized location for information regarding what is offered in our community,” Langley said. “Parents are going to have to be accountable for what their young people are doing, ensuring that they are getting to school on time and engaged in their classwork.”
Langley also leads the Charles Hamilton Houston Foundation that focuses on the development of minority youth.
He has an idea to create a website that lists every available resource for young people.
“If we are to deal with gun violence, we have to deal with the root causes,” Langley said. “And those root causes are poverty and lack of opportunity.”
His council is also having a youth resource fair at the beginning of next school year.
Langley said he believes teens need an outlet to make money that doesn’t result in violence. With a long list of new employers heading to Durham, he’s highlighting the importance of connecting residents to quality jobs.
“There’s always hope because we’re here to help, especially for those who need us most,” Levisy said.
Levisy said the Boys & Girls Clubs of Durham and Orange Counties works to help those aged 6-18 years old build leadership skills and healthy lifestyles.