KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A local organization wants to offer a safe place for kids to hang out once school ends.
Kyle Hollins, founder of Lyrik's Institution, is rebooting a program for young Kansas Citians.
"What's different from this Hot Summer Nights compared to the other Hot Summer Night's is we're adding a violence prevention component to it," Hollins said. "Which is the conflict resolution, the anger management, and the behavior modification."
The programs add layers of of safety so kids like Armondo Simmons feel comfortable showing up.
"I feel like that's something you can't normally get in KC because, you know, people are always fighting and shooting" Simmons said. "And they don't feel safe going anywhere because something could always happen to them." Simmons said.
A big part of why Hollins believes this progran will work is the cultural competence he and other volunteers bring to the table.
Hollins says he made mistakes that landed him in prison.
His past helps him understand today's kids and their struggles.
"What looks violent and aggressive to another demographic, kind of looks like, 'John is tripping. Like, let's go help him. Let's go get himself together," Hollins said.
Hollins said that's where real change happens.
"We have to talk to each other. We have to disagree. We have to have conflict right? That's normal, we grow from conflict."
That means if a fight breaks out, volunteers will break up the fight and start a conversation. That helps cool a heated situation off instead of just kicking out those fighting.
"Then it carries on into the parking lot, then it carries on into the neighborhoods or things like that," Hollins said. "So what we really want to do is; we want to maybe possibly give it an end. Before it goes out and becomes something else that could cost somebody their life or their life in prison."
It represents change from past events canceled because of fights and represents consistency those former events didn't have. It's an understanding that kids make mistakes,
but it's the community's job to help them learn.
"What I am going to say is we tried. And we're going to try again. And we're going to try again. And we're going to keep trying until we figure this thing out," he said. "Because, if we give up, who's going to come? There's no Superman coming from outer space. We've got to figure it out from within."
This event will go on every other Friday for the next four months.
On the other Fridays, Lyrik's Institution will host another event centered around video games.