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Saint Florian Center teaching kids business skills to help curb youth violence

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Posted at 7:23 PM, Jul 03, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS — A moment of pride for kids and teens who have spent all week putting together a business plan they shared with the community at the Saint Florian Center's Violence-Free MarketDay.

Each kid came up with an idea, put together a business and marketing plan and then put that plan in action.

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"The idea was inspired by all of us,” Ian Cooper, a ninth grader in the program, said. “So, basically we all came up with a certain idea and we worked in groups for that idea."

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Cooper is the leader of his business group, Slushy Street. He says the program has taught him more than professional skills.

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"Just be violence free, there is no need to be hitting, fighting and arguing for no reason,” Cooper said.

Teaching kids that violence isn't the answer has been the goal of the Saint Florian Center for 32 years.

They hope their approach will show kids that they can be successful if they stay on the right path.

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"If someone is ready to start a fight, they are the leaders of that group, so they go and talk that person down,” Anthony Williamson, Executive Director of the Saint Florin Center, said. “They have the tools to be able to do that. So, every day we talk about how you can be violence free because that's the way to be to make your dreams come true."

Youth violence is an issue the city of Indianapolis and organizations have been working to curb, especially in the summer months.

The Saint Florian Center hopes that programs like theirs will encourage more young people to put the guns down and see that their future can be bright.

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"This is absolutely one-thousand-percent the solution to youth violence,” Williamson said. “We can't wait until they are in high school and college, we have to get them young and get them on that path to productivity."

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The Saint Florian Center says many of its graduates have gone on to start businesses of their own.

They have programming year-round. For more information, click here.