Mentors giving safe space for kids in Albany

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Mentors are having difficult conversations with kids in Albany following the surge in gun violence. The Boys and Girls Club of the Capital Area is aiming to stop the violence before it gets any worse.    

“If we’re training up our kids now to be productive citizens, we won’t have problems of violence,” said Program Director David Gordon.  

Many of the kids who go to the center in Albany live in communities experiencing the heightened gun violence. Gordon said he’s of the mindset that if he can save one of his kids’ lives, he’s doing his job.  

“We go into conflict resolution. That’s where we go into communication, whether you should be at home or at a job or at the Boys and Girls Club,” Gordon said.

Lately, Gordon’s had to have some tough conversations with the kids. Two high school students died this month after being shot, both bystanders.  

“The last thing we should be doing is fighting and murdering and causing a lot of violence,” said 12-year-old Amir Harrell. “My mom wants me to focus on school and not be worried about the things that go on in society.”  

But with, 15-year-old Destiny Greene, the latest teen shot and killed, it’s hard for the conversation of the violence not to happen inside the organization’s walls.  

“We kind of talk about their perspective, how their feeling in the situation and then how we can potentially avoid future situations from happening,” Gordon said.  

Gordon said boredom can lead to trouble with kids. So, they’re giving kids like Harrell, not only something to do, but a place to talk to an adult outside their home.  

There will be a teen night on Friday at the club starting at 5:30 pm. 

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