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Young Men, Inc. helps boys in Indianapolis 'make better choices'

Young Men Inc..JPG
Posted at 6:03 PM, May 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-07 21:06:04-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Gun violence is an issue all too personal for 16-year-old Messiah Belton.

“I know a few people who’ve been shot in recent months. One of my friends just got shot nine times," the Lawrence Central High School student said. “Most of the time it’s people who don’t have too much guidance. Who had to grow up in situations where they didn’t have nobody to lean on.“

Belton says that’s not the case for him, thanks to youth mentoring program, Young Men Inc.

“People actually turn into family. Especially over the years. Giving into my emotional or even financial," he said.

The program uses military style discipline and life skills workshops to set boys eight to 17-years-old up for success.

It started in 1994 in direct response to an increase in homicides and violence in Indianapolis.

“Particularly speaking, it was the violence of black males. It was a big problem because of those 98 homicides, 89% of them were African American males that were being killed," Executive Director Rev. Malachi Walker said.

That violence is still prevalent in Indianapolis in 2023.

“It’s going to take ‘we.’ When we all come together and try to come up with some type of solution and not be part of the problem, then we can lower some of this violence and stop a lot of our kids from dying in the street," Rev. Walker said.

After his time in the program, Dante Granger says he was inspired to become an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer.

“It was an opportunity for me to give back to the community that I grew up in and try to make a difference as much as I can," Granger said.

He says the lessons learned in the basement of the Great Commission Church of God are ones he carries with him today.

“It just gave me good life lessons about structure and discipline, and made me always think about the decisions I made," he said.

Parents or guardians can go to greatcommissionchurchofgod.org and click on the Young Men, Inc. link to sign up for the Summer Camp Recruiting Sessions in May.

The cost is $75 for the camp. It will run from June 6 to August 6, 2023.

Recruiting sessions for new participants are held every Thursday in May at 3302 N. Arsenal Ave.

For more information on how to volunteer or how to donate contact Rev. Malachi Walker at 317-437-7937 or the camp site at 317-923-7690.