By DAN MANNARINO
PIX11.com | @PIX11Dan
9:15 AM EDT, July 17, 2012
PIX 11 first introduced you to the group the Brooklyn foot soldiers last year, an extraordinary program that began back in 2001 with one big umbrella goal : to keep kids out of trouble while helping the community.
PIX11 first introduced you to the group the Brooklyn Foot Soldiers last year, an extraordinary program that began back in 2001 with one big umbrella goal: to keep kids out of trouble while helping the community.
"When they are here they are out of trouble, point blank," says the founder Barnabus Shakur.
The numbers speak for themselves. Ninety-Five percent of the teens who belong to the program graduate high school. We met Dominque last year, who just wrapped up her first year at Lincoln University.
"I want to be a detective," says Dominique, who graduated from the program and now volunteers her time as one of the group leaders.
While she is climbing her way to the top, unfortunately the crime stats in New York City are on the up and up as well.
In the beginning of July, the city saw 77 shootings in one week alone. Ninety-six percent of shooting victims are black and Latino.
NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says that most violent acts of crime happen in communities like Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. His comments last week that not enough is being done by black leaders had people furious, and Shakur saying take a look over here.
"I think violence and crime comes from a certain point of a person being idle," says Shakur.
Enter the foot soldiers. They are a small army of teenagers who are anything but idle. They arm themselves with brooms and hit Brooklyn streets, home by home offering to clean their properties to make them a little brighter and safer.
" I can have the fun I want to have, make the work happen and have fun at the same time," says Dawon Cuthin.
With so many broken homes, and less positive options after school, Shakur wants Ray Kelly to look at what they have accomplished – a brand new living space for the kids and the community.
"It's designed to look like a nice living room, so they can have a home that belongs to them."
If you want to sign up to have your home cleaned by the Brooklyn Soldiers, they are charging just twenty dollars for the remainder of the summer.
For more information log on to their website – prg.org.