Tuesday, April 22, 2008

24 CPS students killed, 36 shootings in Chicago over the past weekend

The number of students in Chicago Public Schools killed this academic year has risen to 24. With the first weekend of warm weather, Chicago saw 36 people shot over the course of just 3 days. Something's not right here.

Both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times have covered the recent wave of violence, both amongst the city's youth and throughout the city in general, quite extensively. Various experts have offered their solutions to ending the violence. One of the more interesting articles that I've seen in regards to this recent wave of violence is about the Interfaith Director for Chicago Public Schools, Rev. Renaldo Kyles and how he has responded to dealing with 24 young lives being lost during this school year. Mr. Kyles has performed many important tasks, such as helping families find affordable funeral arrangements to simply being a contact to families dealing with unimaginable grief. What I find most compelling about the article, however, is about how Rev. Kyles mentions that he would like to see more mentoring programs and after-school programs in general be created.

I've emphasized time and time again how tutoring and mentoring programs are an incredibly simple and concrete vector for combatting violence, as well as teenage dropout rates, pregnancy and drug-use. I still am trying to find a bigger voice for myself and through this blog and other means can only reach so many people. However, Rev. Kyles, as an spokesperson for Chicago Public Schools and as a minister has an even bigger say in spreading the importance of mentoring programs in combatting youth violence. Tutor/Mentor Connection has long recognized the importance in faith leaders as an important and essential ally in trying to help children succeed. To find out more about how faith leaders can be allies in improving the lives of children, please visit the Tutor/Mentor Institute website and read "How Faith Communities Can Lead Volunteer Mobilization for Tutor/Mentor Programs."

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