Chicago teen among those sharing gun violence experience with federal lawmakers

Chicago teen among those sharing gun violence experience with federal lawmakers

CHICAGO (TOC) — A Chicago teen is amongst a number of individuals telling federal lawmakers about their experiences with gun violence as they seek for methods to cease it.

The primary to testify was a 19-year-old from Chicago’s West Facet.

“That is one thing younger individuals ought to by no means have the deal — concern that I might be shot,” mentioned Ernest Willingham.

Earlier than the Senate Judiciary Committee’s listening to on defending American kids from gun violence, Willingham spoke about what helped him navigate violence in Chicago and obtain success.

“This program modified the trail of my life and a variety of my siblings,” he mentioned.

Willingham is among the hundreds of Chicago youngsters who’ve gone by Chicago Youth Applications, or CYP. It is based mostly out of Lurie Youngsters’s Hospital however a separate non-profit is at the moment on the lookout for mentors and extra younger individuals who would possibly want steering and assist.

The founders not too long ago checked out how this system impacted to lives of youngsters 33 years in the past.

“[They are] twice as prone to graduate faculty, twice as prone to have cash on the finish of the month, extra prone to be wholesome and extra prone to say their way of life was higher than the place their dad and mom,” mentioned Dr. Karen Sheehan, co-founder of Chicago Youth Program.

Sheehan was there at the beginning of this system in 1984.

“It is actually cheaper for those who forestall violence from occurring within the first place,” she mentioned. “Fifty individuals assume it is difficult but it surely is not. We simply must create secure social and bodily environments for youth with caring adults.”

Diamond McNulty, who’s now the CEO of a catering firm and on the Board of CYP, was among the many first youngsters at Cabrini Inexperienced to take part.

“It takes time so that you can pour into youth and construct that rapport with them, however when you accomplish that, they may take heed to you and need to turn into one thing better in life,” McNulty mentioned.

As for Willingham, he’s in his third yr at Northeastern College and plans to enter drugs.

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