YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Violence has been increasing in Youngstown the past few years.

In 2020, there were 98 shootings and 28 homicides and 2021 saw 138 shootings and 30 homicides. There is already one confirmed homicide in 2022.

Across the street from the post office in downtown Youngstown, a group of men with troubled pasts recorded a podcast at the National Center for Urban Solutions.

They used to have violent conflicts with each other — but now, they bond together for change.

“Over the years, I understood and broke down our beef. I really understood it,” Leroy Hammond with Beefing to Brotherhood said.

William Miller, founder of the RESPECT organization, invited young men from Youngstown to listen to the podcast.

Called Beefing to Brotherhood, it attempted to use the group’s past mistakes to show how violence isn’t a solution to problems. The men speaking are passionate about turning lives around.

“What we want through is serious. I thank God right now that I’m here for sure and I know all of these guys here do too,” said Troy Jones with Beefing to Brotherhood.

Each man spent time in prison for gang-related crime. They hope their stories can impact younger generations.

“A lot of us have changed our lives and we’re trying to become better men from what we went through. If we’re talking to some young people, I just hope they would listen to us because we’ve been through it,” said Tracy Wilks with Beefing to Brotherhood.

“Believe in yourself and anybody who was meant to be in your life is going to be in your life and they’re going to support that and they’re going to want to see you win,” Miller said.

The group wants to deliver it’s message in local schools. It is also aiming to start a city wide mentoring program — bringing kids from different Youngstown schools together.

The full podcast is available on Facebook.