Ballard heads to D.C. to discuss youth violence

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WISH) – Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard will join mayors from other U.S. cities in Washington D.C. Monday to talk about youth violence with White House administration officials and the President.

The Mayor will also take part in a town hall meeting concerning “My Brother’s Keeper,” a national initiative aimed at helping boys and young men of color.

The President is expected to announce new commitments to the initiative Monday including an effort by the NBA to recruit 25,000 new mentors and work with at-risk students to increase attendance and performance. AT&T is also announcing an $18 million commitment to support mentoring and other education programs.

This summer, the city of Indianapolis launched a similar effort — to create summer job opportunities and mentors for young people here. City officials say the public safety foundation has raised more than $35,000 the last few months for groups that have committed to creating those summer jobs.

On Friday, IMPD Chief Rick Hite said what young people learn through this should have an impact on how they live the rest of their lives.

“When you go for a job you can talk about, ‘Yeah I worked a summer program and here’s my reference. Here’s somebody that can say something good about my work ethic. Because I’ve learned I don’t have to hustle to make a living for myself. I learned I can do something with my mind and my hands and somebody wanted to pay me for it,’” he said.

In May, President Obama discussed his initiative, “My Brother’s Keeper,” and said he expects more commitments throughout the year.

“I’m just reminded that I am only here because a bunch of folks invested in me,” he said. “We’ve got a huge number of kids out there who have as much talent or more talent than I have but nobody’s investing in them. And I want to make sure that I use this platform and every cabinet member here wants to make sure that they use the tools that they’ve got – so that these young men and young boys know somebody cares about them, is thinking about them, and that the can succeed and make America stronger as a consequence.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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