For 19-year-old Keith Dismuke, volunteering to serve in the outreach group Let's Talk it Out is a no-brainer for him and the area youngsters surrounded by negative forces.
"The youth has been deterred. You know, especially, I mean, the generation just coming up now, you know, we're just trying to help these young minds out," Dismuke said.
Dismuke isn't alone. Saturday afternoon's first annual Day in the Park served to recruit the next wave of positive Let's Talk It Out role models. This month, LTO leaders hope to recruit 50 more teen volunteers for the fall, training them to train others.
"I'm pleased with how they set up the food, the menu, the games. Everything was done by young people, so I'm really impressed; it shows other young people how they can get involved," LTO director Andre Ford said.
LTO leaders believe the added volunteer firepower will cut down on gang-related gunfire and reach out after a violent summer.
"We had a lot of killings in the Rockford community, but we wanted to let people know it's not all about violence, drugs and gangs, that we can actually come together and have fun," Ford said.
That's what Dismuke and others look to do, scouring the community on a mission to change the thinking and change lives for the better.
"I see it as something to get involved with, a feeling of belonging, and LTO can offer that feeling of belonging in a positive way," Dismuke said.
It’s a positive outlet these Let's Talk It Out recruits hope will one day help recruit the next wave of volunteers.