INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 7, 2014) — Police, fire and E.M.S. workers hit the streets of downtown Saturday morning. It was not for an emergency, but in a roundabout way, it was to address public safety in the city.
Some did a combination of both. But all did it with purpose.
For the first time ever, the Indianapolis Department of Public Safety organized a 5k fun run and walk. The reason: to raise money for programs that encourage jobs for young people.
“Youth unemployment in across the nation is around 62% among 16 to 24 year olds. We believe that’s contributing to some of the crime problem,” said Rev. James Jackson of Clean for Green.
If you weren’t there this morning, why does it matter? The title of the run says it all: Your Life Matters. It’s borne out of Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard’s drive to curb violence among the city’s young people and the Indianapolis Foundation’s commitment to improving quality of life.
“Reducing crime is a quality of life issue for everyone in Indianapolis and if we’re going to thrive as a community, we have to have a safe place to live,” said Brian Payne of The Indianapolis Foundation.
And it starts by reaching the young jobless in Indianapolis who may give into the hopelessness that often leads to crime; and put them in touch with the city’s resources.
“Getting more police that’s one thing but it’s not the answer by itself. It’s actually giving kids, teenagers a sense of the hope that if they do the right thing, their life will be rewarded,” Payne said.
“They’re gonna have a mentor, someone that cares about them, loves them, makes sure the’re fed thsi summer and then we’ll have a relationship when they start school next year,” said Indianapolis Public Safety Director Troy RIggs.
“Every problem has a solution. This is not the only solution, but it’s one of them,” Jackson said.
About 200 people participated in the free event, raising more than $22,000.