New youth center in Rochester seeks to tackle teen violence

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – A new youth center has opened in Rochester in hopes of addressing rising youth violence.

The Latino Youth Development and Resource Center Inc. (LYD) opened on Tuesday. Monroe County Legislator Mercedes Vazquez-Simmons led the center’s dedication.

“It’s a special time because I think our kids in our communities are crying out for help,” Vazquez-Simmons said. “Latino youth development is a holdover from what used to be Puerto Rican youth development and this was the very place where this program started and it was fitting for it to work and we are back in the same neighborhood, back in the community where our children need us the most.

The new center is located on North Clinton Avenue. Organizers hope the space provides a place where young people can feel safe, speak freely and build positive relationships with each other.

Supporters say this center is opening at an important time with the ongoing COVID pandemic.

“We see a lot of depression and anxiety in our communities, which also turns into violence when they are with other people because they haven’t had that chance to be among their peers and other people,” the mental health case manager said. Eva Martinez.

“As we talk about our recovery from COVID, and how we move past COVID, and think about mental health, we think about workforce development, economic development, we think about substance abuse disorder, we think about the violence that is happening in our neighborhoods, we need to think about our young people and how we connect our young people to these support services so they can thrive and succeed,” the Monroe County Executive said. , Adam Bello.

The center will also offer conflict resolution sessions, mental health support, pee meditation, and drug education and prevention for teens.

There will be adult and teen mentors, like Isaiah Santiago, who will help young people follow a positive path and stay away from violence, gangs and drug use, and instead focus on their other passions.

“When you look at young people at risk, you sometimes see the answer of getting jobs for young people, and sometimes that’s the answer, but when you look at young people already on the streets who are already making money from gangs and drug-dealing, the answer is usually their passion, what they love to do,” Santiago said.

The new youth center is located at 980 N. Clinton Avenue in Rochester. There are three volunteers at the center between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Young people will have internet access and will be able to do their homework at the centre. There will also be a 24/7 hotline for those in need.

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