Violence fuels new program

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Mentor Tom Leaf takes time out of his day to help the young men in Lansing.

Mentor Tom Leaf takes time out of his day to help the young men in Lansing.

LANSING- Recent violence among teens in Lansing pushed one church to take action by creating a new program called Saving Our Sons.

Three students from Sexton High School were wounded during a shootout in mid-September.

“We need to take the youth involved in the violence off of the streets and away from it all,” said Anthony Roby, director of Saving Our Sons and youth minister at Word of Life International and . “If we focus on them, the violence will go down.”

Roby is calling on men in Lansing to join the program and become mentors for young men in the community.

Community partner

Saving Our Sons has teamed up with Gateway Community Services. Gateway Case Manager Francine Francis said their youth are attending Saving Our Sons’ meetings and giving feedback.

“They are helping us help them,” Francis said.

She said there is a lot more programming for females than for males and it’s time for men to step up and help the younger generation of men.

Minister Roby added that mentors are there to help the young men finish high school, get jobs and most importantly, give them someone to talk to. The program also strives to give them life-building skills along the way.

“The only qualification to be a mentor is to have the heart to help,” Roby said. “It’s nice to give someone options to better their life and put a little promise in their future.”

The next Saving Our Sons’ meeting will be at Letts Community Center, 1220 W. Kalamazoo St., from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3. Everyone interested in being a part of the program, either as a mentor or as a youth, is welcome to attend.

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