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'We Push For Peace' Opens Center To Connect At-Risk Youth With Jobs

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A community organization is expanding its role with violence prevention to include providing resources for the young men and women with whom they interact.

We Push For Peace now has space in a building in Minneapolis' Uptown district. It's where they hope to truly change the lives of those who want a different path then what the streets have to offer.

Trey Pollard spends nights and weekends on city streets trying to stop violence before it happens.

"When the Lord got a plan for you, man, all you got to do is trust that plan," Pollard said.

He felt his organization needed to do more, so now his team will also focus on rebuilding lives.

"Boots on the ground, I'm always encountering these young men and women. I get phone numbers and then I resource them to other programs that's happening throughout the city," Pollard said. "What's happening and what I found out was these resources wasn't getting back to these young men and women."

He wanted to make sure these young people have options, so this training center was born.

"The center is actually called Xavier's Employment and Training Center," Pollard said. "Xavier is my 20-year-old son that I actually lost two years ago to mental health."

RELATED: Minneapolis Violence Interrupters Sidelined, Ask For More Police Presence

Pollard hopes to address all the issues that keep young people engaged in violence.

"They're going to have a free assessment, a free mental health assessment, because we can't help them unless we know what we helping them with," Pollard said.

Those who came get help with a resume, clothes to wear at interviews and jobs that pay between $18 to $22 an hour in exchange for putting the guns down.

"When you are asking them to do something different and change their lives … essentially you taking something off the table, but nobody was putting nothing back on the table for them, so it was easy for them to keep doing what they were doing," Pollard said.

His son Trenton is leading the team responsible for rebuilding lives.

"This is a way to start to stop what's going on, interacting with young Black men, giving them an opportunity to work, work with at-risk youth," Trenton said.

We Push For Peace is not going at this alone. Other boots-on-the-ground groups like A Mother's Love, Salem Inc. and 8 to 18 Truce Center in St. Paul will take part in this re-building of lives.

"Come on down to We Push for Peace and we'll show you the way," Trenton said.

In the past 45 days, We Push for Peace has hired 23 people. Pollard is looking for more community partners and businesses willing to provide jobs, and young people looking for a better way. Click here for more information.

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