Best Worthy Cause

The Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative

The first seven months of 2012 in Seattle have been marred by bloodshed. Already murders have outpaced 2011, with many of the shootings senseless and random. How do we stop the killing? Local politicians and law-enforcement officials have made much ado about cracking down on illegal firearms, but that's treating a symptom, not the sickness. Fortunately, the city is already working to get to the root of the problem with a long-term remedy: The Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative. The program dates back to 2008, when five teenagers were shot to death in Seattle. Since then, the city has invested $3.8 million annually in programs that aim to keep kids from ever aiming a gun. Educators, outreach workers, and other community members mentor repeat juvenile offenders, help truants get back in school, and otherwise provide positive alternatives and assistance for at-risk youth. Prevention, after all, is the best medicine. KEEGAN HAMILTON

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