COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Sean Stevenson, founder of the End the Violence program, is working to make a difference in the lives of Columbus youth.
“I just wanted to do something different, break the cycle of how people view us and see us as young black males,” said Stevenson.
Stevenson says he had a tough life growing up–the streets and gangs were all he knew. Now, he and others mentor young people around the city in hopes they learn from his life mistakes.
“We have to look at violence. We have to look at violence all together. We have to find ways to cut this down,” Stevenson says.
Stevenson works with men like Ron Wallace. Wallace is the manager at Wendy’s on East Broad Street and hires at-risk teens.
“We look at all of our young people as having a gift and what they contribute to the community, what they contribute to their families,” said Wallace. “But if they don’t have an opportunity to contribute their gift, then their gift is going to find room someplace else.”
Tyler Brown is one of those “once at-risk” teens.
“I’ve gotten shot before, so I kind of wanted to change my life,” said Brown.
Brown was heavily involved in gangs and spent time in jail. He had no parental figure to look up to until he met Stevenson through the End the Violence program five years ago.
“I wanted to be an inspiration to all the guys I grew up with and am affiliated with. People can do something different with their life,” Brown said.
At 26, Brown is now training to become a professional boxer, and working at the Academy for Urban Scholars High School. Brown is giving back to those who took a change on him.
“If you can save a life that’s the best reward,” says Stevenson.
For more information about the End the Violence program contact Sean Stevenson firstname.lastname@example.org