KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Sunday marks the start of National Youth Violence Prevention Week and dozens gathered at Harriet Tubman Park to kickoff a week that’s filled with several fun events for the Knoxville community.
The City of Knoxville’s goal is to lead communities on effective strategies to prevent youth violence.
“Having activities like this keep us together as a family,” said Knoxville resident Sherie Walker.
In a community that’s seen four teens lost in gun violence at the start of the year, seeing a smile on a child’s face can bring relief to so many.
“There’s lots of activities to do and a lot of people to play without here,” said Sherie’s daughter Marcella Jones.
Knoxville Vice Mayor Gwen McKenzie hopes Sunday’s event can help lead to change and prevent youth violence.
“Today is about family today is about unity and today is about learning about organizations and agencies that have positive things for families and especially young people that they can do,” said the Vice Mayor.
It’s a positive impact Walker is glad to have in her community,
“I love it because I moved out of this community and came back and I love it because they always do events like this and it keeps us all close as a community,” she said.
Marcella may just be at the event for fun and games, but her mom knows these community events can have a longterm positive impact on her kids.
“This is very helpful for a mother like me,” Walker said.
Founded in 2001, National Youth Violence Prevention Week is a time for youth to lead communities on effective strategies to prevent youth violence. The campaign is a week-long event with each day of the week corresponding to a specific challenge for communities.