Teens work to spread peace through volunteering in wake of violence

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – While Indianapolis appears to be on pace for a deadlier year, a group of teens are trying to prevent more violence by trying to spread more peace this Thanksgiving.

Box by box, they worked Wednesday to prepare meals and a little more good in the city.

"It's not even about personal losses but it's more about city losses, because there's somebody lost every other day from crime," We LIVE Indy founder Brandon Warren said.

IMPD said so far this year there have been at least 142 criminal homicides, at the same time last year there were 130. In 2015, there were 144 murders total. Police said one of the things they're focusing on is community involvement.

"But there are underlining factors that we have to consider, second and third order effects that are just troubling in a lot of ways. One factor for us that we're seeing across the paradigm is that these acts are being committed by youth," IMPD Sgt. Chris Wilburn said.

The murder of one of their friends, Dijon Anderson, is why the teens started We LIVE Indy. But this Thanksgiving weekend, they said it's about showing the good rather than focusing on negativity.

"Just to show basically that there's good things going on and there's good things that teenagers are doing other than the negative," We LIVE Indy member Jalen Stringer said.

The teens said they're planning to spend Thanksgiving volunteering around the city, and encouraging others to lend a hand too.

"While you might hear negativity about young people there's a lot of them who are being extremely productive and they would give their shirt off their back to help their neighbor," Brandon Randall, a community liaison with the group Don't Sleep, who is helping the teens, said.

"If you can get involved in anything no matter what it is, even if it's just helping your neighbor out or helping loved ones out or helping a fellow church out or anything just go do something positive, you don't always have to do something negative or just sit down and not do anything," Stringer said.

They're also trying to raise awareness about resources available to people who need help. They said they encourage people to look at community centers, educational assistance centers, shelters and mentoring organizations.

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