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Philadelphia Community Leaders Working On Solutions To Crimes Impacting Children, Teenagers In City

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Community leaders are working on solutions to crimes impacting children and area teenagers. They believe kids have the right to grow up safely and should settle their differences with words -- not guns.

While Dr. Dorothy Johnson-Speight says there is no concrete answer to solving the gun violence epidemic, reaching the youth is key.

Three teens were gunned down in Philadelphia this week alone.

On Tuesday, a 16-year-old was shot inside of a home on Torresdale Avenue.

On Monday, a 13-year-old was shot sitting in a car at 49th and Hoopes Street.

Also on Monday, 15-year-old Juan Carlos Robles-Corona was shot and killed on 15th and Susquehanna near his school.

"I don't want no vengeance," Maria Balbuena, Robles-Corona's mother, said. "I don't want nobody else to be shot. I just want to know what happened."

"When I saw the book bag laying on the ground, I broke down and cried because it's pain that I know personally," Johnson-Speight said.

Johnson-Speight says her son was gunned down over a parking spot years ago. She founded Mothers in Charge, a violence prevention and education organization.

They also are currently working with a group of young men and women on a weekly basis, helping them navigate grief and trauma in their lives.

"Young people so angry. We have to find ways to help them deal with that anger," Johnson-Speight said. "There needs to be more places that young people can go to help get help, to have a voice, to be able to talk to someone."

She does her best to assist families every day impacted by violence but hopes more information and resources become available city-wide. She says she commonly hears mothers say they do not know who to turn to.

"Oftentimes, they will hear, 'well we can't do anything until they get in trouble,' or 'until something happens and then we can get involved,' no," Johnson-Speight said.

While solving the everyday violence is not going to be easy …

"We just have to keep doing what we are doing in terms of trying to reach them," Johnson-Speight said, "help them, help heal them and get them the mental help services that they need."

The city did launch a violence prevention hotline. You can call 211 to get help.

For more on Mothers in Charge, click here.

CBS3's Ross DiMattei contributed to this story. 

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