MSU professors and community members learning how to prevent youth violence in Lansing

Learning how to prevent youth violence
Published: Jul. 9, 2022 at 5:07 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Community members and professors explored the prevalence and prevention of youth violence with a new research project.

On Saturday, psychological instructor Sean Hankins from Michigan State University (MSU) met with News 10 to talk about the youth violence that is happening in Lansing.

“It’s about getting that voice of the youth verses the voice of someone who’s outside,” said Hankins. “And simply using assessments to validate their own opinion. And so it’s all about getting that kids voice and giving them that platform, to share what their needs are. The saying goes “the kids are our future,” but without a voice you know, you know how can that come fruition”.

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Sean Hankins is trying to create real change for Lansing kids, but that starts with understanding the issue at hand. The research project has found that youth violence is higher in areas where kids are not getting the proper resources to succeed.

CEO Jerry Norris from The Fledge said some of which include healthy meals, mentors who believe in them, and the opportunity to not be put in a bubble.

“These kids weren’t born to be shooters, they weren’t born to be victims, us as their families and friends and the communities and their neighborhoods, we tweak them in that direction and we need to stop doing that,” said Norris.

The next phase of the project is to create partnerships with similar organizations to further their work. MSU professors Carole Gibbs and Jennifer Cobbina-Dungy said they are only in the beginning phases.

“So we’re hoping to spend the next year finishing up this phase of the study and we’re currently seeking grant funding to do the next phase of the project and if we’re successful in that it would start next summer,” said Gibbs.

“With the hopes that we do get the funds, we will even have a community advisory board where we’re going to have several members of the community as well as youth who are apart of this or so they can also be advising us,” Cobbina stated.

If the project is granted more funds, they will expand their research to interview more kids, then use their research to help prevent, as well as respond, to youth violence.

More information is available on The Fledge website.

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