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City and YMCA Team Up To Combat Gang Growth

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City leaders in Yakima are getting ready to implement the Gang Free Initiative, a program they hope will help reduce the number of gang members on the streets.

It is no secret, the gang problem is pretty bad in Yakima. In fact, it is an issue that local police are forced to deal with every day.

But now, under Yakima’s Gang Free Initiative, local leaders are hoping to stop the problem head-on by trying to positively influence potential future gang members.

Sixty kids at both Garfield and Barge Lincoln Elementary School are being identified for the Gang Free Initiative program.

Under it, they will get extra tutoring through Madison House, gang awareness classes through the Yakima Police Athletic League, and even a one-on-one mentor through the YMCA.

“They just need somebody to inspire them, encourage them, give them some guidance, direction, and little different perspective,” said Bob Romero, executive director of Yakima’s YMCA.

Romero says the YMCA is currently taking applications for mentors. If you are interested, just visit the Downtown Yakima facility.

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