MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Memphis is putting out the call to stop youth gang violence. City leaders are looking for volunteers to tutor at-risk kids. They're hoping to reduce the number of teens who join gangs and reduce the number of crimes they commit.
Delvin Lane, a Community Violence Prevention Supervisor with 901 BLOC Squad, says the youth gang problem in Memphis is "pretty bad."
Lane told abc24.com the 901 BLOC Squad is "trying to prevent gun violence in South Memphis and Frayser but eventually all over the city."
BLOC, which stands for Better Lives, Opportunities, and Communities, consists of "5 guys that can strategically hit the streets and build relationships and stop the crime that's going on in our city," Lane said. The organization will act as mediators in hopes of easing gang tensions. "We can break through easier than some of the others that's been trying to break through with them."
Lane, a former gang member and drug dealer, says he can reach the kids because "I know what it is to lose a brother to life in prison, and what it is like now to get a degree and work and not to have to look over my shoulder."
The 901 BLOC Squad is planning to raise awareness by marching from Cleaborne Temple to Booker T. Washington High School on January 26, followed by a candlelight vigil.
Anyone interested in tutoring the at-risk youths can e-mail Peggie.Russell@memphistn.gov