Youth Helping Youth

By: Brad Broders
By: Brad Broders

Recently our local youth have had some tough issues to digest. Earlier this month, 13-year-old Blake Barrone of Rockford died from alcohol poisoning. His death is prompting other organizations to step forward to show our youth what alternatives exist. Now, Rockford's youth is being targeted by their peers.

Twenty-two-year-old Raymon Martinez was at Levings Lake Park Saturday evening for a simple reason. Martinez says, "I wanted to touch the hearts of those that may be feeling alone and they try to fill that space of that darkness with alcohol, with drugs."

The Seventh-Day Adventist Church sponsored a bilingual concert. The event included passionate dramas packed with a message: there are positive forces in Rockford, but you have to be active to change.

But even with negative choices, the youth volunteers wanted the audience to know there are positive outlets.

Martinez says, "Nine times out of 10 you go into a gang you feel that you need a family. We want to push them to go to church and take positive steps."

Though it's unknown how this message will carry over, Martinez says the concert is step in the right direction.

"It all starts with an idea. You have an idea, this is a small idea, but hopefully this is a small push. I just hope that the city of Rockford can support us. It all starts here," says Martinez.

A starting line that Martinez and others hope can finish with a better community.


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