Thursday, November 29, 2007

Our Campaign

Detroit’s New Year’s Tradition
Name: Joshua Pelt
University Prep High School/ Youth Initiatives Project

Detroit is one of the many cities in America that made shooting in the air on New Year’s Day a tradition. As a result there have been a high percentage of fatal as well as non fatal shootings going on for several years. Youth Initiatives Project (YIP) is part of the Neighborhood Service Organization. It is a program guided by youth to make a difference in the communities around the metropolitan area. We have a campaign which is year round called “Hugs Not Bullets”. But we mainly focus on this particular campaign around the first of the year to stop shootings (a New Year’s tradition). “Hugs Not Bullets” has been a success; we have had a lot of promotion in the previous years with this campaign and plan to continue it into the future.

For further information please contact us at: (313) 965-6924

Speak Up

Norman Jones
University Prep High School/ Youth Initiatives Project

The primary goal of the Youth Initiatives Project is to elicit the support and leadership of at-risk youth to change attitudes about violence and substance abuse. (YIP) is a youth driven program and is very active in the community. We’re known for the campaigns that we do. One of our most well most established campaigns is Hugs Not Bullets. This is a year round campaign but we emphize it more around New Years time. As you all know people like to do things such as party, drink, and shoot into the air.

The problem we have is shootings. I think it’s wrong and not safe because everything that goes up must come down and you’re putting people’s lives in danger while doing that. I also feel that you should start your New Years off on a positive note like giving out and hug somebody or just spend time with your family. When one shoots into the air, the act itself is starting off your New Years with violence and that’s something that needs to stop. I also feel that it is not teaching the youth the right thing because they will want to do the same thing as adults. Two out of three students involved in school shootings from 1974 to 2000 acquired their guns either from their own home or from that of a relative. One in five youth in grades 9-12 say they have carried a weapon (gun, knife, club, etc.) in the past 30 days. When exposed to gun violence, our peers can think that shooting is okay and we want to end that. The time is now to get started and promote peace. SO LETS GET IT DONE!

For more information or to join Neighborhood Service Organization’s YIP, please feel free to call us at 313.965.6924

Stop The Shootings

V’Lecea Hunter
University Prep High School/Youth Initiatives Project

Today’s teens use violence to retaliate a conflict because of the fear of snitching. Many teens roam the neighborhoods seeing all kinds of negative things, but are not willing to speak up because they don’t want to be labeled as a snitch. Being labeled a snitch causes people to want to fight or exclude the guilty party from different activities. I feel that if I’m living in a certain area and I see something unusual happening or negativity, I am going to speak up. I am not going to watch a person get harmed just because I am scared to speak up.

Today’s violence is also solved by using guns; many teens believe that by using a gun will be the only way they will gain respect. The gun can be either for show or for actual usage, but the point of having the gun and using it to scare someone is harmful. Many teens don’t understand that once a gun is introduced into a situation, all negative things are bound to happen. No one can sit and say “well today is my day to die”, so everyone must be mindful as to what they do and how they use or handle situations.

For instance there is one special day that is known in some parts of American and especially in the rural parts of Detroit, which the only thing people do is shoot; especially at 12:00am. This day is known as New Years Eve, people all over Detroit feel as though they are obligated to bring their New Year’s in with a bang. Well, the Youth Initiatives Project (YIP) wants an end to that. We want everyone to bring their New Year in with a hug instead of a bullet. So, to support our beliefs we have a campaign called “Hugs Not Bullets” and this campaign is to encourage everyone to not use firearms on New Years Eve. We started this campaign three years ago and had great success, so this year we want it to be even better.

Speaking as a youth myself, I have seen killings occur in my neighborhood because people wants to be hard, get respect, or even play around; but we need a end to this and it starts now!

Hugs Not Bullets Campaign

As youth leaders commited to ending gun violence, students involved with the NSO/Youth Initiatives Project have launched a gun violence prevention campaign known as Hugs Not Bullets to discourage celebratory shootings to welcome in the New Year. The campaign, now in its forth year, has brought awareness of the dangers of celebratory shootings to youth and families in Detroit. This achievement is the result of extensive collaboration with the public and with law enforcement partners.

YIP's membership is comprised of a variety of middle school and high school aged youth throughout Detroit. During the coming weeks, they will post commentary, videos and photos of their historic campaign.

We ask that you learn from their experience as they tell their unique story of the dangers of gun violence.

Frank McGhee
Program Director
NSO/Youth Initiatives Project