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Lyrik's Institution works to reduce teen crime, violence in KC

'We are for the culture, in the culture and we want to shift the culture'
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Posted at 7:56 PM, Feb 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-20 07:39:36-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — At just 19 years old, Nathanial Greer is used to the violence in Kansas City, Missouri.

“It seems regular when somebody dies or when they say three people died in the weekend, it’s kind of regular to me,” Greer said. “The adults may feel like it’s getting worse, but to me, it’s the same. To me, it’s Kansas City. Other people call it 'Killer City.' It's always been like that to me.”

But he's found a way to escape by spending time at Lyrik's Institution.

“A chance to actually chase a dream when sometimes it'll just be an idea to us," Greer said. "They’re making it a reality.”

Lyrik’s Institution culture coach Janese Williams said a new program, dubbed “IBuild," will change the perspectives of teens exposed to or involved in crime and violence.

“We are for the culture, in the culture and we want to shift the culture,” Williams said.

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Williams and other institution coaches share their stories and relate to those involved through the program.

“They will have internships with us," Williams said. "They will also have community partners. They will go through a six-month process with us nonstop [to] identify their passion, identify what they want to do with their life and connect them with different partners in the community that does that particular field and send them on their way.”

She said IBuild will meet twice a week and is designed for ages 13-25.

Students will leave not only with a new perspective but with money in their pockets.

“We already know the thought process needs to be shifted, but the economic status needs to be shifted as well,” Williams said.

The program gives Greer hope for his future.

“As a young, Black,19-year-old man, the opportunities they are giving us, I never knew I could have,” he said.