MEMPHIS, Tenn. — One well-known group of pastors says they’re going to do what they can this summer to make a difference in Memphis’ youth crime problem.

Members of the Memphis Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference announced the Youth Violence Intervention Love Initiative on Tuesday. They say it’s all about reaching young people where they are, with a program promoting non-violence, as well as plenty of activities this summer. 

“We gotta get back to the basics with our young people,” said Pastor Walter Womack, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference,

The program starts next week, five days a week, running through the summer. 

From his church, Womack says he has a building designated to help youth. They will also work in parks. The program will provide free lunches.

“We have activities that are going to be going on, we have a basketball court, we’re going to have various programs, counseling, prayer, mentorship, motivational speakers. We’re going to have reading sessions, computer lab training, biblical studies,” he said.

Womack said the program is already in motion.

“We got to go into some of these parks where these young men are playing basketball. We got to go to some of these corner store and talk to these young men, our youth,” he said.

19-year-old Hattie Johnson and 15-year-old Kymar Turner, from South Memphis, plan to take part. 

“It feels good because there’s people that actually care about us more than our families,” Turner said.

While Turner says he’s looking forward to playing basketball, he knows there are other important activities for other people around his age. 

While the goal is to curb problems like carjackings, road rage, theft or other crimes involving guns, Kymar believes if everyone works together, it can help emotionally, too. 

Children around 7 or 8 years old and up are encouraged to get involved.

Call  901-319-8784 or 901-233-0771. The program takes place at 462 Flynn Road.