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Kansas City Health department programs help keep kids engaged this summer

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Thandi and Khaya at a playground.
kcur.org
Aim4Peace works with family members of survivors of violence to promote hope and healing.

Aim4Peace focuses on the neighborhood factors that most often contribute to violence, helping those who are considered at highest risk of committing offenses due to their living or employment situation.

All Kansas Citians deserve to live their lives freely without fear of violence. Kansas City’s Aim4Peace program is taking a public health approach to reducing shootings and homicides and reverse the violence epidemic in Kansas City, Missouri.

“Too many of our young people are ending up under the sheets at homicide scenes,” said Rashid Junaid, Aim4Peace program director. “We must be willing to experiment to save lives. We are trying different ways to engage with our young people to keep them off the streets and away from violence.”

Christopher Ortiz-Cruz, 13, recently won $1,000 in the Power Moves-KC Shark Tank contest, the first of three Kansas City Health Department initiatives to help young people reduce stress and find healthy ways to use their time and energy.

Aim4Peace hosted the contest along with the Lyrik's Institution. Teenagers were taught how to turn an idea or hobby into a successful business and pitch it to community members.

Christopher will use his prize money of $1,000 to launch a skateboard tutoring business.

Another opportunity was Box Out, on Wednesday nights in June, where teenagers learned boxing skills as a therapeutic way to reduce stress, conflict and burnout.

The third initiative involves the opening of a 24/7 Peace Center.

Ways to contact and get involved with Aim4Peace are (816) 352-3069 (the 24-hour emergency/peace line), and (816) 513-7902 (for questions).

  • Rashid Junaid, Aim4Peace program director
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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
Elizabeth Ruiz is a freelance producer for KCUR’s Up To Date. Contact her at elizabeth@kcur.org or on Twitter at @er_bentley_ruiz
Reginald David is an assistant producer with Up To Date. You can reach him at reginalddavid@kcur.org.