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The community is invited Saturday to a summit aimed at reducing the violence that has erupted recently in neighborhoods across the city. From 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the George Bray Center, 924 Center Street, neighbors can talk to each other, get to know one another and listen to speakers who grew up in the area and have put their pasts firmly behind them to have successful futures for themselves and their families. “This is supposed to be a family event where we come together because there are too many young people getting caught up, and that rarely ends well,” organizer Jamal Cronin said. “I know a lot of this might be gang-related, but everyone should put the guns down.” Cronin said he was prompted to take action by the recent shooting at the George Bray Center that left three people injured and multiple reports of shots being fired in neighborhoods across the city. “I chose the Bray Center to try and build something good from a tragic event,” he added. The speakers Cronin has recruited to help Saturday will focus on the need for parents and guardians to get kids involved in positive activities like Young Leaders Academy or the after-school program at the Bray Center. “The key is to find what fits best with your child, and there are so many options available,” he continued. “Adults have to be involved because kids are searching for their identity, and we don’t want them to find it on the street.” Cronin alluded to a checkered past of his own, saying he’s “been inside and out, and I know how it goes, how easy it is to get caught up.” He also knows that kids growing up in the neighborhoods where the violence is erupting need to connect to adults who are from the same area. “The men who will speak Saturday have come through it,” Cronin explained. “They’re ex-gang members and ex-cons who have solid jobs, are married and have kids. They’re succeeding, and young people will listen to them because these adults are from the same neighborhoods.”

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In addition to our education features, we’ll be kicking off a series of stories highlighting how parents, students, and educators are adapting to the impact of COVID-19 on education. If this is important to you, please consider donating to our education reporting fund. https://business.facebook.com/donate/1846323118855149/3262802717172659/