Summit’s goal: break cycle of youth violence
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent May 9, 2014 10:06PM
Jordyn James, 12, (from left) bullies Jeremiah Clark, 13, while Jakobi Mosley, 13, watches during a role playing session Friday at the Youth Violence Prevention Conference at Indiana University Northwest. | Carrie Napoleon~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 11, 2014 6:08AM
GARY — Youth and adults Friday took steps to stem the tide of youth violence by taking part in “The Right to Peace: Have the Courage to Take the Right Path” summit.
The daylong annual Youth Violence Prevention Conference sponsored in part by Community Organizations for Families and Youth and hosted by Indiana University Northwest gave participants an opportunity to hear from experts on the topic of youth violence including author James Garbarino, who has written five books on topics dealing with youth violence.
Participants were able to learn more about specific topics in break-out sessions on subjects ranging from the emotional effects of domestic violence, youth suicide prevention and bullying for adults, and gang awareness and consequences, guns and the law, and the impact of violence on youth.
“The decision you make today will affect you for the rest of your life,” Darwin Kinney of Diversity Consultants Inc. and creator of the BULLY-END program told a room full of teenagers from schools throughout the area in a break-out session.
Kinney took a hands-on approach to teaching the students how to deal with bullying. Volunteers participated in role-playing activities designed to show them how to deal with bullying situations in school and on the streets.
“Do you understand how serious this epidemic you face is?” he said.
Most of the students in the class said they have witnessed bullying. Some said they had been victims.
“Bullying makes everybody feel bad,” Jhalen Ward, 17, said. He and fellow Gary West Side High School student Deontay Walker, 16, said they have seen bullying in their school and learned some tools to help stop it.
“If you see somebody being bullied you need to help. You need to try and change it,” Walker said.
Allen Jones, 16, from Lew Wallace High School in Gary, agreed.
“You should stop it,” he said.
Kinney taught students how being proactive by telling the bully to stop or telling an adult could help break the cycle. He described peer pressure as a form of bullying and used a role playing situation to demonstrate how a young person should stand their ground and not cave into peer pressure and do something they know is wrong.
“Think before you do or say anything,” Kinney said.