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Pittsburgh youth coaches start violence prevention podcast

Pittsburgh youth coaches start podcast to address violence
Pittsburgh youth coaches start podcast to address violence 02:42

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Two youth sports coaches in Pittsburgh are taking a unique approach to violence prevention, and it's not on the football field or the basketball court.

They're giving the microphone to people who tackle the issue every day but often go unnoticed.

Mubarik Ismaeli and Anwan Wesley are getting real about violence in some Pittsburgh neighborhoods by launching a podcast show on YouTube called "I am a Solution."

"You have to come into it like what is a problem and how can we solve it? If you don't have the mindset, it's just going to be conflict after conflict after conflict, running in circles," they said in a recent podcast.

"Our whole idea was in order for us to really make a dent in violence in the community, we gotta collaborate, we gotta work together," said Ismaeli, who is known as coach Mu.

Ismaeli is the president and executive director of the Homewood Community Sports, which is getting a new field by the fall. Construction is well underway right now. More than 200 kids are in the Homewood Bulldawgs football and cheerleading programs. 

Wesley, known as coach Wan, used to coach with the Homewood Bulldawgs and now coaches basketball at Imani Christian Academy.

Every single day, they both go above and beyond to prevent violence. They wanted to bring the topic to the forefront of the conversation by bringing on guests who were on the ground helping.

"To kind of shed light on people in the community who are really decreasing this community violence. They're doing the work, they've got their head down low," Ismaeli said.

When you tune in to the podcast, he said you'll be surprised how many people are doing the work out of their own pocket, and if they had more resources they'd make an even bigger impact.

"We want to reach the communities impacted by the violence, and that's mainly the Black communities in the city because that's where the lack of resources are. And there's people who are doing good work," Ismaeli said. "Money gets thrown into the community, I don't think it gets put to the right places, so these people are making miracles with nothing," Ismaeli said.

During an episode titled "The Power of Mentorship," they interviewed Jonathan Mollett, a youth sports photographer who runs Dream Shots Media.

The coaches asked Mollet how violence has impacted his life. He said his father died when he was around 9 years old, and he started misbehaving. Now, he keeps kids motivated in youth sports through his photography and film. Mollett said he thinks mentoring and youth sports can help prevent violence.

"It's keeping kids busy and more opportunities at a young age," Mollett said in the podcast.

Whether coach Mu and coach Wan are using a whistle or a mic, it's all about seeing kids smile and succeed. Tune into their podcast if you want to be a solution too.

"We should want to help and work with one another and want every kid and every family to have a fair shot," Ismaeli said.

They have 10 episodes planned so far. Their goal is to continue their podcast long-term, but they need the resources to pay for the studio.

Episodes of the "I am a Solution" come out on Mondays. You can subscribe to their YouTube channel and follow their journey on coach Mu's Facebook.

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