MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee County officials launched a new mentorship program focused on violence prevention.
Leaders say too many times a young person at high risk for violence can only get help after they are in trouble or when it’s just too late.
"The trend we are seeing of arguments and disagreements between people who know each other escalates to violent conflict," said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley.
The program is called Credible Messengers. It is made up of 23 individuals from five community-based organizations: 414 Life, Milwaukee Christian Center, Running Rebels, WestCare and Youth Advocate Programs.
Credible Messengers takes a more focused approach on mentoring high-risk youth. They will be available 24/7. They will also respond to incidents of community-level trauma. They will be visible.
"They will work in community-based settings such as parks, neighborhoods, door-to-door and block-to-block to engage youth and community members," said David Muhammad, Department of Health and Human Services.
Leaders say even though there have been recent incidents of alarming violence in the community, prevention programs are working, which is why they are teaming up for this coordinated effort.
They are also encouraging young people in need of a mentor to reach out.
"If we don’t find you first, find us," said Kweku Teangelo Cargile Jr., Office of Violence Prevention.