New Haven group uses sign to try to end violence - WFSB 3 Connecticut

New Haven group uses sign to try to end violence

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NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -

A string of shootings is prompting a non-profit group in New Haven to take action. Near Level Street there have been four shootings within a seven-day span, and a local group is hoping to make a change to stop the violence.

"Violence is about territory. It's about friendship. It's about revenge," said Joanne Sciulli, who is the executive director of Solar Youth, who added that the Westville Manor neighborhood has been seeing a lot more violence lately. However, her organization is fighting to stop the next shooting, one message at a time.

"We empower young people to be problem solvers. We call them stewards and they become stewards in their communities," Sciulli said.

Recently, the group worked with parents and neighbors to hang up a 30-foot sign along Level Street that reads "You Are Important To Us."

"We wanted to send a message to the kids and to the families in this community that we believe that you are important," she said.

On that sign, the group wanted children and parents to bring markers and write whatever messages they want, "so those messages were everything from ‘you are loved' to ‘put the gun down'," Sciulli said.

While it may be a small step in ending the violence, she said she hopes it will eventually be a thing of the past and she is encouraging anyone in the community to leave their own messages.

"One thing people in New Haven can do is think about things like this…'how do we send the message to young people that they do have value? That their lives mean something," she added.

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