The city of Utica is still combating gun violence. Lately, there has been more shootings taking place during the day and with some individuals involved being under the age of 18. A community outreach member spoke about what can be done to help youth with other alternatives before resulting to gun violence.
“For those of us that are lifetime residents here in the City of Utica, we are deeply disturbed about the shootings, the daytime shootings, the fact that the guns are getting into the hands of teenagers.” – Patrick Johnson, Program Director of Save Our Streets
Johnson says there are other resources and opportunities, and he is willing to help anyone who is committed to seeking a life away from gun violence.
“People say there is nothing to do in Utica and I’m going to push back on that a little bit. There are things to do if you take the opportunity and the time and the choice to look at other avenues.” – Patrick Johnson, Program Director of Save Our Streets
Johnson’s Save Our Streets Program for youth involves basketball and life skills.
“I understand the frustration of parents and community members when they say, what happened to those programs that we used to have, that were so valuable in enriching to our young people. We don’t have those anymore and I’m going to be an advocate along with other people to see if we can get some of those back or programs that are similar to that.” – Patrick Johnson, Program Director of Save Our Streets
Whether it is doing intervention or being a motivator for these youths, Johnson is willing to lend a helping hand.
“If you give it a shot, an honest and effort. You’d be surprised at what you can do.” – Patrick Johnson, Program Director of Save Our Streets