YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – In this edition of our In-Depth segment, WKBN Community Affairs Director Dee Crawford spoke with Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Youngstown Jim Byrd about young lives lost to violence.
Byrd said that most of the gun violence, locally, is among adults in their mid to late 20s, but still very young.
He said at the Boys and Girls Club of Youngstown is trying to open up its services to the whole community, not just members.
“To violence and having the trauma that’s involved with that. One of the things that the Boys and Girls Club of Youngstown has done since 2020 is open our club not just for members. Yes, we do our members, our program, but I have a vision that the Boys and Girls Club should be seen as a community center,” Byrd said.
Byrd said they partnered with Youngstown United for an anti-violence rally and used their facility.
“There are groups we’ve said yes, come use our facility, use our property. I think that has to be part of the answer. And what I mean by that is there has to be a community. It has to be community people that know each other, care for each other, and respect and value each other,” he said.
Communication and love are key, Byrd said.
The Boys and Girls Club of Youngstown has a paid membership but grant money helps in offsetting the costs so the membership was $7 for the year. Byrd said some ask why not make the membership free.
“There’s something to have. Skin value is value. Our summer program was like that,” he said.