Indianapolis youth football league turns to the community for help

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- An Indianapolis youth football team that helps hundreds of at-risk youth is now in need of its own help.

The Indy Steelers started a crowdfunding campaign as part of a bigger effort to cut down on street violence.

"We give the youth something positive to do in their free time," said Indy Steelers coach Corey Harden.

The team is asking for money to help cover the cost of equipment. Everything from jersey, shoulder-pads, pants and cleats. The cost for a complete uniform is about $150.

"A lot of these kids are from single-family homes and a lot of them don’t even have the money to pay for the equipment," said Maurice Harris, who has a grandson in the league.

The money is needed to enroll more children in organized sports and prevent them from possibly turning towards a life of organized crime.

"We had a terrible year in Indianapolis last year specifically in our neighborhood. We've lost a lot of lives," said Harden.

One of those lives lost was Deshaun Swanson, 10, a member of the Indy Steelers. He was shot and killed in a Butler-Tarkington neighborhood drive-by.  TyJaun Preer, also on the team, was also shot and paralyzed in a separate shooting.

"Losing a player on our team is like losing a kid. They've played for us for years," said Harden.

"If we have kids and we have teams that are doing what they can to keep these kids out of the neighborhood we need the support," said Steeler parent Kathy Williams.

An outside organization agreed to match up to $20,000 raised by the campaign. For more information and to donate, click here.

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