INDIANAPOLIS — We are a week into the new year and already three Indianapolis teens have been killed.
Youth mentor Kareem Hines says his community is concerned.
“They’re concerned about the gun violence in our city because it’s affecting them not only from a family standpoint, but they’re friends are dying. They don’t have a place to grieve. They don’t know how to grieve," Hines said.
Hines is the founder of New Breed of Youth or New B.O.Y..
Beginning Saturday, the youth mentoring group launched its 42-week-long sports league called Playing for Peace.
The goal is to engage boys ages 10 to 17 in sports like basketball, flag football and an iron man competition.
Although youth sports is the draw for many of these kids and teens, New B.O.Y. will also focus on life lessons.
The program offers mentorship, community building and more.
“Once we’re able to connect with them through sports, then we can start that mindset shift. In regards to what it’s like to be a man. What it’s like to go to college, what it’s like to have goals and look towards your future," Hines said.
22-year-old Courtney Radford says being in the program at 15 and 16 helped shape him into the man he is today.
“It showed me that there are people out there who care for you and there are people in the community who actually take a stand," Radford said.
Radford grew up in poverty.
He says that forced him to make some bad decisions as a teenager.
“After that decision I made the choice that I didn’t want my life to be like that. And I went back to school, and graduated from freshmen credits as a senior, played on a semi state basketball team and I worked a job while I was in high school,” he said.
And now he’s reconnecting with the program as a junior mentor, in hopes of paying it forward.
“This is a connection between everybody. We’re all united in the world, regardless of what you look like, if you’re rich or poor. We all need to take a stand and help each other out.”
League Youth Workout and Registration Dates will be on January 14 and 21.
If you or someone you know is interested in the program, click here.