Local group works to provide positive role models for at-risk youth

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – On Tuesday, federal prosecutors announced the indictment of several gang members accused of robbing more than 20 pharmacies.

Prosecutors say the gang would recruit younger teens and kids to help with their crime spree, sometimes sending them into the pharmacies to do the robberies.

A group in Indianapolis is working with at-risk youth, trying to keep them from trouble. Leaders with Young Men Incorporated say that is exactly the type of thing they are working to prevent. They say without positive role models, it’s easy for kids as young as 10 or 11 to get involved in gang and criminal activity.

The group met Tuesday at Great Commission Church of God. The pastor there is working with several teenagers to plan for the Young Men Incorporated annual summer camp.

It is a camp that is geared toward giving young boys positive role models.

“We get a hold of them before the street, drug dealer, gang-bangers get a hold of them,” said Pastor Malachi Walker, founder of Young Men Inc.

He says he’s not surprised by the indictments of several gang members accused of recruiting young kids to participate in pharmacy robberies.

“We’ve got grown-ups brainstorming, and persuading them to go out and commit some criminal activity and these young kids are probably being persuaded in a way that they can’t resist,” said Walker.

Walker says they often offer kids money or material items like shoes or gaming systems.

Young Men Inc. teaches at-risk youth discipline, how to say no, and accountability.

“I can’t be doing this. I am an example,” said Jarrod Hubbard. “I represent Young Men Inc. I represent the church. I represent this group or that group. Therefore, I can’t perform these acts.”

Hubbard is 16 years old and has been involved in the group since he was a young boy. This year, he will serve as a counselor.

“I strongly believe that each one saves somebody. That that is the way we can turn the city around and prevent a lot of this violence and crime,” said Walker.

For more information on this group, click here.

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