NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -- A new center in New Haven opened on Friday with the mission to reduce violence and provide opportunities for youth.

The Connecticut Violence Intervention Program is an organization that works tirelessly to combat gun violence and help keep youth engaged.

“We want to have a place for them to be able to come to be able to feel safe, to be able to open themselves up and release some of the things that they’re going through. Have a safe place to come because some kids don’t have a safe place to go,” said Tyrone Whitaker, of the Connecticut Violence Intervention Program.

People like Kayla Law know the pain of violence all too well.

“My brother, he was murdered in an attempted robbery and my boyfriend was murdered in a drive-by shooting,” Law said.

However, a community outreach worker named Leonard Jahad helped her through those trying times.

“Personally, in my experience, I felt really alone like I just didn’t have the things I needed, and then to have that available, to know that there are people that genuinely care and really want to do everything they can to help, it’s comforting,” Law said.

Community outreach workers are mentoring kids around the clock, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

The center opened on Friday on Ashmun Street, and now offers expanded programs, including a music studio and music therapy.

In New Haven, police said they cannot fight violence in the Elm City alone.

“Our motto is we want you safe, alive and out of jail. So, violence has gone down in New Haven and arrests have gone down in New Haven because of people like you and organizations like you guys,” said New Haven Assistant Police Chief Carl Jacobson.

The governor and organizers are hoping to bring the center to other cities in Connecticut as well.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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