Indy summer program aims to empower young men

INDIANAPOLIS - An Indianapolis camp hopes to reach out and empower young men before it’s too late.

Leaders at Young Men, Inc. work with African-American males ages 9 to 16 to help keep them safe and out of trouble.

When Robin Range moved her family to Twin Hills on the city’s northwest side, she said she worried about her son.

"I wanted my son to live. I don't want him to feel like his life is going end at any time I wanted him to know there's a world out there but you have to be a stand-up man," Range said.

The public housing community is in the 46218 ZIP code, which was pinpointed by Indianapolis police for leading the city in shootings and murders.

"He understands that there is a seriousness that is going on in the 46218 and he wants to be part of the solution," Range said.

Range enrolled her son in a military-style summer empowerment program when he was 9 years old. Now 16-year-old Joshua is a chief counselor.

"Instead of being in the streets and being in crime and stuff it helps young men get empowered to do  the right thing basically," Joshua said.

YMI founder Pastor Malachi Walker stressed the importance of making good decisions and how one bad choice could lead to jail or even death.

"The bottom line is we are men and we're tired of seeing our young men dying on the streets dropping out of school in record numbers and we're trying to make a difference," Walker said.

Range said Walker has made a difference. After college, the Herron High School junior plans to go into law enforcement.

He said YMI has taught him to give back.

"It's not on the child, it's on the parent to research like I did and find a program like I did because they are out there and hopefully there will be more, but you have to be proactive," Range said.

YMI’s summer camp starts June 5. Click here for more information -- http://bit.ly/1h9xXo9

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