(Florida International University) – Volunteers and workers from social service agencies and anti-gang and juvenile violence programs hit the streets on July 25 in the wake of a drive-by shooting two weeks earlier that critically injured a 15-year-old youth.
As part of the effort, a Service Providers Village sprung up at the corner of Northwest 15th Avenue and 60th Street, where workers offered immediate assistance.
Among multiple organizations at the village was Habitat for Humanity, which discussed home ownership opportunities; the State Attorney’s office, explaining how ex-offenders might expunge their records; the Belafonte TACOLCY Center, offering referrals to daycare and other services; the Miami Children’s Initiative, promoting health and education services; and the Mobile Workforce Assistance Center, discussing job opportunities.
“I don’t let my kids play outside,” said 46-year-old homeowner Gladston Allen. “With the things I see happening with the gangs on 14th, 15th and 16th [avenues] it’s just not safe here.”
Liam Torrez, 12, a member of the Touching Miami with Love religious youth organization, took part in the event, walking many blocks with a group of friends.
“We don’t try to persuade people,” said Liam. “But we do let them know we’re here to help.”
Organizers said this was the third time Walking One-Stop visited Liberty City.
The program operates monthly in various neighborhoods and will likely stop next in Overtown.
Lionel Lightbourne, a community organizer with the TACOLCY Center and coordinator of the Service Provider Village, said the programs will be back in Liberty City soon.
Mario Diaz may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: PHOTO COURTESY OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY
Vice Chairwoman Audrey M. Edmonson