BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Baton Rouge leaders, law enforcement, and organizations aim to decrease violence and increase education through a new program.
Councilman Darryl Hurst of District 5, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, the Baton Rouge Police Department, Baton Rouge Community College, and CEASE FIRE collaborate with the new program, L.I.V.E., standing for Lowering Incidents of Violence through Education.
The program aims to provide educational resources, job readiness training, and job placement for high-crime areas.
“Lack of education, which equals lack of opportunity, which equals lack of income, and I tell people lack of outcome,” said Hurst.
The program was able to identify 15 to 20 teens and young adults that were vulnerable to violent/criminal behavior due to a lack of community resources. They want to continue more individuals through the District 5 community.
Organizers believe that this program is what is needed to remove the term “underserved” from the front of the word communities.
“It’s turned into the wild, wild west, so these kids feel unsafe leaving their community without protection,” said Hurst.
L.I.V.E. is partnering with the Baton Rouge Community College to express how crucial education is for improving the community. BRCC will provide transportation to and from the Zion City community with the Baton Rouge Police Department escorting the bus to ensure safe passage.
“Try to enroll them and hopefully help relieve some of that crime and drug issues,” said BRCC Chancellor Dr. Willie Smith.
Councilman Hurst says Baton Rouge Community College has offered full scholarships, and to help guide the students’ direction once they graduate from college.
BRCC will host these students for seven weeks and six months, allowing them to attain a HISET, job readiness experience, and certifications that can yield the participants a job earning up to $80K to $100K per year.
Understanding that some of the participants may require additional services, BRCC is committing student wrap-around services including mental health counseling. This is to ensure that they meet the holistic needs of the students.
In addition, if expungement services are needed to allow the participants to qualify for jobs in their respective fields, BRCC Law School and District 5’s partnership with the Justice & Accountability Center of Louisiana will be leveraged to assist in helping to provide those services.
“Now, you being able to educate yourself, hopefully, when they have children they’ll be able to do the same,” said Smith.