Youth Power Expo distributes 2,000 backpacks with school supplies

INDIANAPOLIS — Community partners came together to donate 2,000 backpacks full of school supplies to children on Saturday.

It was held at the Marion County Department of Children’s Services on Keystone Avenue. DCS Marion County Regional Manager Peggy Surbey and Mackida Local & Trip Mentoring Manager LaShaune Triplett hosted the event.

“We see hope because we see young people. We see families. We can talk to them and see what their needs are,” Triplett said.

“People might just need some extra support and help, and that’s great. We don’t want any disruption to services for families,” Surbey said.

There were plenty of activities for the kids, while parents took home free treats and learned about family services they can access in their neighborhood.

The children played on bouncy houses, ate snow cones and went on pony rides. Parents enjoyed stocking up on fresh vegetables, cleaning supplies and school vouchers.

This event is part of a larger effort by municipal leaders to create a long-term violence prevention strategy. Community leaders are working to address the root causes of violence, such as poverty, unemployment and lack of services.

“These fundamental issues, these root causes, they didn’t happen overnight, so they’re going to have to take some time,” District 3 Councilman Keith Graves (D) said.

“It’s a good example of the community coming together, and prevention is when vendors come in and provide information. That’s part of prevention here,” said Malachi Walker, founding director of Young Men, Inc. Youth Ministry, a youth mentorship program. .

Like many violence prevention programs, the exhibit focused on supporting families and children, and some young people are starting to notice this.

“You don’t see that often. Especially with all the violence going on in the city, it really warms my heart, makes me smile just to see it,” said 16-year-old Patrick Collier.

“It’s definitely going to protect us kids. It takes time out of our day, so we don’t have to be around the block or around the neighborhood doing something we don’t need to do,” Cameron Washington , 14, said.

Courtney Bess and her three children, Lakae, 5, Lamonte, 11, and Lanae, 14, enjoyed the exhibit. Bess noticed the efforts of city leaders to keep her family safe. It is a basis for trust to grow.

“It was zero a few years ago. I was just praying for all those kids growing up in this society that we live in today,” she said.

But these days, she has a little more confidence in her city. On a scale of 1 to 10…

“I would say like a 6 or a 7. We’re getting there,” she said.

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