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Indy teens giving back during holiday season after record year of juvenile violence



Lawrence, Indiana – This year has seen an unprecedented level of violence among youngsters in the Circle City.

Two adolescents from Indianapolis are urging their peers to speak out against violent crime as the holidays get near and they are working to give back to the community.

This holiday season, 15-year-old Cam Washington and 17-year-old Patrick Collier are working to feed almost 200 families. They are organizing a giveaway for the second year. They claim to be doing it because they understand what it’s like to require assistance.

“I’ve always been in a situation before where I’ve needed help from people, whether it was shelters, or being in foster care,” Collier said.

“A lot of families don’t go home to food in their fridge, so we’re being able to give food to our community,” Washington said.

In recent years, the teens have also suffered heartbreaking losses.

“Two of my friends died last year,” Collier said. “One of my friends died the morning of Thanksgiving. And another one of my friends died a couple days after.”

Following their deaths at the hands of juvenile gun violence, Washington and Collier decided to follow their passion to change the world.

“It’s a lot,” Collier said. “It’s a heavy feeling. And me and Cam have always been the type of people who sat back and said, ‘Dang, it’s tough that happened.’ We always felt responsibility to make a change.”

According to Washington and Collier, teenage violence has been a major problem in 2023. More than 20 youth shooting deaths have occurred, setting a record for Indianapolis. More than 60 shootings have not resulted in fatalities.

Kareem Hines, the mentor of the teenagers at New Boy, expressed his pride in their efforts to buck the trend.

“I think we need to empower our young people,” Hines said. “When we see two young people that are doing the right thing, that dare to be different, that are making positive decisions, it’s important to highlight them because maybe, they can encourage and empower their peers.”

The food distribution on Friday represents a small portion of the couple’s work on behalf of the non-profit they founded in 2021. Inspiring other teenagers throughout the city of Circle is their shared hope.

“I want the community and people my age and my peers to feel like, ‘Yeah, I can do this,’” Washington said. “I can start my own nonprofit. I can start my own for-profit business and it’s mine and at a young age it shows more power in ourselves.”

The two teens’ Friday food distribution was made possible with assistance from the Department of Child Services. They received $5,000 from the department for their efforts. The teenagers expressed their desire to expand their annual holiday food distribution.


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