Chicago Summer Camp Teaches End to Violence

July 08,2015

WASHINGTON— At least 10 people were shot dead and dozens were wounded during the U.S. Independence Day weekend in the major city of Chicago. As children around the country increasingly are victims of shooting rampages, one summer camp in Chicago is offering a program that teaches school kids how to avoid violence. The program started Monday at 120 churches and community centers in Chicago and will run through mid-August.

A 7-year-old boy was among those killed Saturday night while celebrating the July Fourth Independence Day with his family on Chicago's West Side. Police said his father was the intended target.

"His father was a ranking gang member with 45 previous arrests who is not cooperating with this investigation," said police superintendent Garry McCarthy.

Ten people have been shot dead and more than 50 others wounded in Chicago since Thursday. In the wake of the shooting, Chicago police have recovered one illegal gun on average for every hour of search.

President Barack Obama's efforts to enact tougher gun laws have been brushed aside by some lawmakers who cite Americans' constitutional right to bear arms. The White House says it is possible to make American streets safer without undermining that right.

"Eventually it's going to require the American people speaking up and speaking out and making clear to Congress this is an issue that they are going to cast a vote on," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

As children around the nation start their summer camp programs, this camp in downtown Chicago teaches children how to avoid violence and bullying.

Eight-year-old T.J. Donald is one of 12,000 public school students who will learn how to try to resolve conflicts peacefully, in a program called Safe Haven.

"We have to let these kids know there are some people out there that are concerned, that care. We are there for you as much as possible,” said Margaret Acree of the Greater St. John Bible church.

Safe Haven offers workshops on positive conflict resolution, anger management and dealing with bullying and violence.