Lowcountry program encourages young people to rise above violence

Several dozen people gathered on Tuesday to discuss a new program designed to help curb violence among young people.
Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 11:01 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 1, 2022 at 11:19 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Several dozen people gathered on Tuesday to discuss a new program designed to help curb violence among young people.

Charleston County Youth Advocate Programs identifies how this kind of violence occurs and how to prevent it from happening again.

“It hurts,” Charleston County Youth Advocate Programs Program Violence Interrupter Shantone Curry said. “I can’t give you no other answer other than that. It hurts.”

This is what Curry says when he hears of juveniles getting involved in violent crime. Curry grew up in the projects, started stealing cars at 19, and went to prison for 15 years for armed robbery.

He was asked why people like him get involved in these situations.

“The feel of hopelessness that there’s no one that cares that they have nowhere to go,” Curry said. “They have nothing to do, and they have nobody that cares enough that gives them something to do.”

Just last week, Chief Burgess of North Charleston Police said the people have to make the change of making streets safer, after a shooting that happened off Barnwell Avenue.

Lt. Corey Taylor with Charleston Police Department says he thinks he sees at least 50% of violent crimes in the city involve a juvenile.

Christa Green, program director for MUSC’s Turning the Tide Violence Intervention program, works closely with people impacted by gun violence.

“Being shot is a terrifying, unfortunate incident that happens in someone’s life,” Green said. “And aside from the physical, there’s a lot of mental, emotional, psycho-social issues that we need to address.”

Charleston County Youth Advocate Programs partners with MUSC to take care of these sorts of issues. Green says she sees kids as young as ten or 11, all the way to people in their 30s getting treatment.

Curry says part of the Youth Advocate Programs’ purpose is to identify where the trauma comes from to best intervene and prevent violent crime from happening again.

“Parenting being passed down by how they were parented,” Curry said. “And, you know, violence around the neighborhoods in which they are living... You’re making a child become an adult before their time. All that plays a part in what we’re talking about.”

Green says most people in their late teens and early twenties are at the highest risk of gun violence.

“I think what’s really most profound is that these are children that just want to go to school,” Green said. “They just want to play basketball in their neighborhood. They just want to walk to their friend’s house. But not all children have the same opportunities and experiences that others do. And so, we’re really trying to focus on providing the resources and reinvesting in the communities that haven’t been invested in a long time.”

For more information on how to get involved with Youth Advocate Programs, click here.