Community Leaders and Professionals Come Together to Honor “Junior” Guzman

On Monday, April 1, 2019, Mount Carmel Teen Project, a community-based alternative to violence program for teens and their families in the Belmont Community (funded by New York City Council Member Ritchie Torres) hosted a panel discussion and presentation by Wurzweiler School of Social Work’s Care Café for community members, neighborhood teens, and families about gang violence and gang prevention in the Bronx.

The program, titled “Rewriting your Story: Alternatives to Gang Violence,” is among a series of events created since the tragic murder of 15-year-old Bronx resident Lesandro Guzman-Feliz last summer.

The guest speaker, Dr. Richie Jimenez, who has been a community activist and gang interventionist for 30 years, not only shared his powerful personal story in an attempt to discourage teens from gang involvement, but also talked about what parents can do to recognize the signs of gang involvement and suggested preventative measures that parents can take.

Dr. Jimenez also moderated the panel discussion about how the community can rise above violence. Dr. Jimenez was joined by gang violence educator Elvis Gutierrez and ex-gang member “Nena” to share their personal experiences and their knowledge. The panel also included Leandra Feliz, the mother of Lesandro Guzman-Feliz, who honored the memory of her son and encouraged teens to utilize the services provided by the Mount Carmel Teen Project, and James Meagher, LMSW, director of the Domestic and Other Violence Emergencies (DOVE) Initiative.

A resource list was provided to participants of what parents, schools and neighborhoods can do to prevent gang violence and involvement.

Learn more about the Care Café program.

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