(Memphis) Mayor A C Wharton has hired a group of reformed criminals to hit the streets of Memphis and reach out to gang members to help stop gun violence.
The 901 Bloc Squad says it plans to be out in full force next month, but right now they're looking for a few volunteers.
“Not everyone is going to fit with what we are doing,” said 901 Block Squad Leader Delvin Lane. “It’s got to be a special kind of person.”
Delvin Lane is that special kind of person, who can relate to young people on the street.
He was once a leader of the Gangster Disciples.
Now he’s the leader of the 901 Bloc Squad. It’s a group of men, hoping to put a dent in Memphis' gang and gun violence problem.
But the Bloc Squad is looking for some help with its mission.
“Anyone that has the heart to help, that wants to reach out,” said Lane.
While the squad hits the streets, it wants volunteers to hit the books with at-risk youth.
Lane is looking for 100 people, mainly men, willing to help kids with reading or serve as a mentor for those who might lack positive people in their lives, “Just relationship-building so our kids can see hope from somebody who`s been successful.”
Tutors would meet with kids and young adults at community centers for about two hours a week for a year. Mentors would have a similar commitment.
The idea is to help those on the streets turn around their lives, like Delvin has, while also making Memphis a safer place to live, “We are just trying to get the message out to put the guns down.”
If you would like to volunteer, contact Delvin Lane by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.