MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Two out of three children are exposed to violence and Shelby County officials say those startling statistics show many children who see violence at a young age, grow up to be adults who lead lives of crime.
On Thursday, county leaders revealed the steps that are taking to minimize the number of children witnessing violence and being victimized everyday in our community.
The crowd was small, but its message was big and impacts hundreds of thousands of families in Shelby County.
"It`s so critical now. Just this week we had a shooting at the Boys and Girls Club. That`s supposed to a safe space."
The Defending Childhood Initiative of Shelby County rolled out its plan to stop these kinds of tragedies and also work with children in the event they're traumatized by violence.
The plan includes getting people on board and equipping them with resources to help children cope with crime.
The program is funded through a $2 million Department of Justice grant .
"It's one of those strategic moves. You fight crime by making sure you have police on the streets, but you also have to invest in prevention programs," said Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell.
Initiative leaders said the plan to protect children from violence won't see results overnight.
It's not a quick fix, but a process.
" We can never lose hope. Our children need us to maintain the hope."