The executive director of Educating for Freedom in Schools in Kalamazoo says the death of one young man made the issue of youth violence hit home for her.
Demarra Gardner said hearing about the death of someone who had been part of the program in its early years, made her want to focus on youth violence this year. Gardner says the overarching theme is that every child can make a difference.
Educating for Freedom in Schools (also known as Freedom School) has been in Kalamazoo since 2008. Gardner says the program focuses on providing "high quality culturally relevant literacy experiences."
Saturday night the sixth annual Summer Extravaganza and Finale will be held at Kalamazoo College's Dalton Theater. C.J. Bragg, a Freedom School student, will be one of the speakers. Bragg says he will discuss his experience and tell people they can make a difference in addressing youth violence.
Gardner says young people have a place at the table in providing ideas to prevent youth violence. She says their ability to be leaders needs to be developed.