Statistics show that Wicomico County has the 3rd highest gun crime rate in the state of Maryland and 46% of those crimes are committed by youth ages 15 to 18. Thus far, efforts to deter this violence have been mainly reactive. A new approach has long been needed in reducing the gang activity and youth crime in the Salisbury community.
In 2010 a group of concerned citizens in the Salisbury, MD community came together to adress the gang violence and youth involvement in crime in the community. After months of deliberation the group came up with a proactive solution. Remove the children and teens from troublesome environments and reduce the opportunites to get into trouble. As a result, the Stop the Violence Program was created, giving youth a healthy, safe, positive alternative to violence.
The center opened in July 2011 and by its 3rd week of operating, between 50 to 70 kids and adolescents were coming to the facility to enage in recreational and educational activities. Since its inception this program has grown tremendously and includes a gym, kitchen, lounge area, study room, computer room, and library. Not only are different sports offered but tutoring, literacy help, and educational seminars for the youth on topics ranging from health and nutrition to resume workshops and job applications. Classes will soon be offered to young parents and parents of current members.
A summer camp is currently being developed for this upcoming 2013 summer to continue to keep this kids off the streets and involved in a program that challenges them and helps them continue to grow both academically, emotionally, and physically.
The youth are encouraged to take initiative and pursue ideas they have that benefit eachother and the center. Participants are taught self-confidence, respect for themselves and others, patience, and cooperation. Some kids are currently working on developing a garden and are encouraged to be creative in their designs.
The center is a warm, inviting, safe place for the children to come to after school and during the summer. Unfortunately the facility is very old and in need of a vast amount of repairs. We need donations, no matter how small, to help us address the significant structural problems. These include extensive repairs on the leaking roof; bathroom updates; electrical work on the kitchen; and structural repairs on the doorframes to ensure saftey of our children and protection of valuables inside the center. The cost is high but the repairs are necessary to ensure continuation of our programs. Please help keep our center running and these children in a postive environment.