YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Nationally, and right here locally, we’ve seen the consequences of bullying and poor conflict management. The lives lost to these senseless acts growing younger and younger.

The Youngstown Community Initiative to Reduce Violence is training teens on the proper ways to navigate these issues, so they can in turn help their peers.

Thursday, a group of ten, young eager minds all a part of the “My Brothers Keeper” organization spoke about how they’re doing their part to learn about conflict management and violence prevention to in turn mentor their peers.

“I feel like I have a big responsibility because I got little brothers and they all look up to me and the kids that we’re mentoring, they’re going to be looking up to all of us too,” said Delaney Jennings.

“Peer to peer is really powerful, young people hearing from young people,” said Community Initiative to Reduce Violence Director, Guy Burney.

Burney said violence is a cycle and the only way it changes is for someone to change their reaction to it.

Touching the younger generations is important in preventing more senseless tragedies because by teaching them how to handle their emotions in a healthy manner, they can make better choices instead of resorting to violence.

“We’re talking today that choices are long-lasting and life-changing and we want our younger people and our adults alike to make good choices,” said Burney.

Burney said the youth are also learning about how emotions influence conflict and what conflict looks like.
The training has been huge for Myka Mitchum, who said prior to it she was angry and didn’t know how to control her emotions.

“It’s helping me stay disciplined, not only that but it’s helping me discipline others and helping them walk on the right path,” said Mitchum.

The training program teaches these teens how to identify problems and establish relationships with their peers.

“And in turn, we’re teaching these kids how to identify that within themselves so that they don’t have to go out into the outside world having the mindset of their small town,” said La’Rayja Hill.

The teens will be working with the Youngstown Parks departments all summer to mentor kids in the park programs.