Multicultural News

Summer intervention program targets ‘high-risk’ youth

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A local organization is helping keep young people out of trouble.

The Juvenile Justice Ministry for Central Indiana Youth for Christ is putting on a summer program organizers say will be like an intervention with the hope of keeping them from making decisions that could put them in jail, or worse.

Growing up near West 34th Street and North Kenwood Avenue next to Crown Hill Cemetery, Devanta Scruggs knows what it’s like to have little opportunity and guidance.

“That’s always been one of the high crime areas, and so it’s so near and dear to me,” he said.

Scruggs lost his father as an infant and had it not been for other people taking an interest in his well being his path would have been much different. That’s why he’s leading the summer intervention program.

It will take a faith-based approach but is also exposing students to different organizations and companies while also focusing on community.

“We want to help these kids to see that there is more to life than bad decisions,” Scruggs said.

The inaugural class will consist of 23 students ages 11 to 17. Many of the kids were recommended for the program by their schools and have various disciplinary histories.

“We said, ‘We want your students who, if they don’t get some kind of intervention right now, that they are going to either end up in jail or end up dead,'” Scruggs said.

He says it’s not about instilling fear but restoring faith in youth who’ve lost hope.

The six-week program kicks off Monday. The group of students will be visiting News 8 as one of their first stops.

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