Anti-violence community program wraps up 10th year
BATON ROUGE- One by one, more than 20 kids walked across the stage to get their Youth Peace Olympic completion award.
"We got awards for participating in the program," Byanna Naquin, YPO participant, said.
It's a summer program aimed at ending violence in the community.
"We include games and activities as a way of having fun, as we teach life skills, and teach them all about violence prevention and how to live peacefully in this world," Alma Stewart Allen, founder and president of Louisiana Center for Health Equity, said.
"This program has helped me in a bunch of different ways see things from a different view," Tristan Porch, YPO participant, said.
"I have really bad anxiety, and it usually gets in the way of things I want to accomplish, it has helped me open up, I sang the national anthem earlier," Aniya Stiles, YPO participant, said.
"It helped me find myself inside," Treijure Riley, YPO participant, said.
The program helps youth learn how to overcome challenges, process their emotions and introduces them to a brighter future.
Alma Stewart Allen started the program 10 years ago, at a time when crime was at an all-time high in Gardere.
"It's about community building, building communities, changing the culture of communities, learning how to be community, learning how to work together as community," Allen said.
"The people were very friendly and nice, it felt like a way to learn but have fun at the same time," DeBerry said.
More than 1,000 kids have been a part of the program.
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