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Community unites to curb violence in early childhood to help prevent future crime

How relationships can play a key role
Posted at 11:13 PM, Jan 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-31 23:13:27-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Violence in a person's life usually stems from events in early childhood. So, the community is coming together to meet the needs of children sooner so they can lead a positive life.

"These kids have guns and they go into rage and they don't have that impulse control where their brain is thinking and saying this is not a good idea they're just reacting in the moment."

Dr. Mimi Graham says when a child is a victim of trauma it increases their chances of being involved in a crime. Dr. Graham is an early childhood trauma expert with the FSU Center for Prevention and Early Intervention Policy.

"When you're neglected or abused you learn not to trust the folks in your world and what we know is that stress affects the development of the brain specifically the executive functioning which is the part that controls your impulses.”

One way to help this? Treating trauma early instead of punishments. Another key? Relationships.

"We're in the business of developing relationships for our youth and guide our mentors through that process as well."

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend connects kids with mentors who listen and give guidance with no judgment. CEO, Molly Lord, said:

"It's very hard for teenagers to adhere the advice from their parents and so they're more likely to take advice from their mentor."

Another organization that plays a part, the Pace Center for Girls. They look at aggression as a learned behavior. They work with young girls and their families to fix the cycle. Executive Director, Cheval Breggins, said:

"They will be able to teach their children and then their children's children will be able to teach, and hopefully as you're teaching one, you're teaching many."

Tallahassee Police are also working to identify at-risk kids in the school system. TPD's Public Information Officer, Alicia Turner, added:

"We all play a part in this community in helping to drive down the violence and I think it's going to be accountability across all platforms across all organizations."

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend is always looking for mentor volunteers that can serve one hour per week to help make a difference in a child's life.

The Tallahassee Police Department says 26 shootings have already happened in the city since the start of 2022.