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Youth Violence Prevention Week kicks off in Minneapolis with community activities for kids

While several events are planned across the city this week at various locations, officials say the goal is to raise awareness, and find solutions toward prevention.

MINNEAPOLIS — During spring break, community organizations across the city are partnering with the City of Minneapolis' Office of Violence Prevention, giving neighborhood students a place to just be kids.

"This week is National Youth Violence Prevention Week and we're celebrating here in Minneapolis with a series of events. We know that youth development is at the core of keeping Minneapolis safe," said Sasha Cotton with the Office of Violence Prevention.

Youth Violence Prevention Week is national event calling attention to the issue of youth violence.

"We accepted 18 applications and are hosting around that many events," Cotton said. "And we really tried hard to fund all of the agencies that had ideas about ways to engage with young people."

Jennifer Weber is a partner with Pillsbury United Communities, which hosted events Tuesday at the Brian Coyle Center, including a basketball tournament.

"[Activities are] going all the way through Friday for the championships, and we have youth from all over the neighborhood that have encouraged friends from all over the city to come be a part of great stuff happening here at Brian Coyle Center," said Weber.

Amano Dube is the senior director of community development at the center.
He says the program encourages positivity among young people and works to help parents struggling with child care during spring break.

"Most of the parents are either at work or taking care of other young kids. They cannot babysit everyone that is out of schools," Dube said. "It is very important for us to welcome and create opportunities for kids during downtime."

While more events are planned across the city this week at various locations,
the goal, Cotton says, is to raise awareness and find effective solutions toward preventing youth violence.

For a full list of events, visit the website here.

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