Youth and community groups including Chicago CRED and READI Chicago come together to discuss solutions to violence in Chicago

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CHICAGO (WLS) — Several youth and community organizations came together Wednesday to share their progress in keeping the city safe during the summer months.

The outreach team at Chicago CRED, a violence prevention organization, develops its game plan and determines which hotspots it should explore on the West Side.

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Their action on the South Side has helped Rasheniece White-Donaldson, who says she turned to life on the streets after suffering trauma as a child. But after completing the Chicago CRED program, she is now part of their team as a life coach.

“Back then, it took a village to raise a child,” White-Donaldson said. “We don’t have that anymore. But working with Chicago CRED is pretty much what it is, you have this whole village.

White-Donaldson shared her experiences at a summit in Garfield Park with other violence prevention organizations, who discussed their work in the community.

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“The men we serve are 45 times more likely than average to be shot or killed,” said Jorge Matos of READI Chicago.

In anticipation of the summer months, participants say their hands-on approach to stopping violence is needed more than ever.

“From 2016 to 2019, there was a drastic reduction in shootings and homicides and we’re going to get back to that with our violence reduction strategy for Chicago,” said Chris Patterson, IDPH Office of Violence Prevention.

And statistics show that violence prevention efforts make a difference.

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According to the Chicago Police Department and ABC7 data team, year-to-date there has been a decline in shootings in the West Garfield Park, Englewood and Roseland neighborhoods.

“From the first quarter of this year, from January to April, we have been moving things in the right direction,” said Arne Duncan.

However, according to Duncan, May didn’t get off to a good start. But he says he disagrees with the recent curfew put in place by the mayor. He said what will make the difference is the investment.

“The state has stepped up funding, the private sector has stepped up funding, but we’re still far from scale, so we’re still doing that,” Duncan said.

In the meantime, organizations like Chicago CRED say they will be in the community every day trying to end gun violence.

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