Fifty mentors for 50 kids

The first step forward in Mayor R.T. Rybak’s youth violence prevention blueprint began April 24 by asking 50 city employees to step forward and mentor youth from Big Sisters and Big Brothers who have been waiting months for a mentor.

The program calls for every young person to have a trusted adult in their life.

“We’ve approached youth violence as a problem that doesn’t just have one solution,” Rybak said in a prepared statement. “Surrounding our children with the support they need is key.”

A significant upswing in juvenile crime fueled an increase in violent crime in Minneapolis in recent years, a news release said. In November 2006, the City Council and Rybak approved a resolution recognizing youth violence as a public health issue and establishing a committee to tackle the issue.

The Blueprint for Action: Preventing Youth Violence in Minneapolis, is a report and action plan that “recognizes that youth violence is a public health epidemic that requires a holistic, multi-faceted response.” A key component of the blueprint is to connect youth to trusted adults, which spurred the effort to recruit more mentors in the city. For more information, click here.