WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) – Volunteers are investing their time to keep kids away from crime, violence, and gangs. The Ungroup Society in Waterbury is working to Save our Streets.
The group of Waterbury teenagers has been experiencing violence on the streets. Two of them say they know another young person killed because of youth violence.
“My friend, he was 14 when he got shot. He’s only 14,” said Joshua.
News 8 met the teens at a class they voluntarily go to on a weeknight, but it has nothing to do with school. It’s a class about financial literacy that’s run by a Waterbury community group called the Ungroup Society. It’s part of a series of after-school activities the Ungroup Society runs.
“There seems to be a lot of issues with the young people not having enough things to do and we’re seeing an increase, a definite rise in violence here in Waterbury, and we want to try and quell that as much as we can to give young people a sense of pride and a sense of caring for themselves. In turn, if they care for themselves, they won’t inflict harm on other people,” said Nadine Leach, Ungroup Society.
The class appeals to teens who have big dreams and shows what it takes to set themselves up to meet those goals beyond the streets.
“I was to have my own shop where I fix cars and stuff,” Joshua said. “It shows me how to finance my money and stuff when I get older and I’ll be wealthy.”
“I believe that the Ungroup Society is a wonderful program that offers children an opportunity to see what life has to offer, different life skills, preparing for the future. It’s programs like this that are critical for our children to be exposed, to have a chance in society,” said Monique Smith, a parent.
“What is happening with our youth today is unacceptable to me. I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that there are people in the community that need to step up. These problems are not issues that can only be solved by teachers or by administrations or by the government or the police. We have to give our kids a fighting chance. We are the people that they trust, we are their mentors,” Leach said.
Mentors that are trying to save our streets in Waterbury.