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New Haven church steps up to fight violence

New Haven is seeing an increase in violence including shootings. Community members are trying to bring change.
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 6:35 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 17, 2022 at 11:19 PM EDT
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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WFSB) - New Haven is seeing an increase in violence including shootings. Community members are trying to bring change.

The Elm City is seeing a jump in gun violence including several shootings involving teenagers.

A local church is stepping in by creating a festival called “Save Our Sons.”

The Beulah Heights First Pentecostal Church has food, games and job opportunities here.

Several tables are set up where people can come in before eight tonight and learn about the resources out there, like how to find a job or if they want to chat with domestic violence specialist.

Church leaders here say young people are dying and they refuse to stay on the sidelines.

So, the church wants to encourage teens to stop by and let them know they are not alone.

Ronald Rainey said, “life is what you make out of it. You don’t have to live the way you are living. Live with a gun in your hand to feel that you are important. There is educating here for anyone - there are jobs to be had you don’t have to do what you are doing.”

Jobs are one-way teens could get help. Yale University reps were here connecting New Haven residents with jobs at the school.

Yale New Haven Hiring Initiative Community Liaison Fallon Thomas said, “how to read the job descriptions and aligning resumes. So, I do a lot of education talk to them about what potential jobs they would like to hold here at the university and help align them with those applications. Around that process. And then I will actually meet with community members.”

Over 600 jobs are currently open at the university and those as young as 16 can apply.

“The more youth know about those jobs they would come and engage around the job and they would get off the streets working and not involved in things they shouldn’t be,” said Thomas.

Church leaders also say their new mission is to bridge the gap between the church and the community. They want the church to be a safe place for people

Social Integration Program Executive Director Blanche Reebef Tucker said, “this is an assignment today to show the young men you are not lost. And if we show them various different outlets it will encourage them to not be in the streets not want to deal with guns and drugs. That they are so bright and brilliant that there is so much to do here and not out in the street.”