BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome held a press conference Thursday to introduce TRUCE, a new community-led nonprofit that uses group violence reduction strategies targeting youth between the ages of 14 and 24. The program is funded by businesses and run through the EBR District Attorney's office alongside other law enforcement agencies.
"Our Mission is to engage young people and leave behind the life of violence, leave that in their past and we want to encourage them to do productive work," explained Jeff Leduff, TRUCE president and former Baton Rouge Police chief. "We want them to seek GEDs and skills training. We want them to go to college if that's their dream or find meaningful employment with one of our many industrial partners that we have."
The program identifies violent youth through juvenile courts and community canvas events. Social workers based out of the Family and Youth Service Center do assessments with participants and their families to determine what specific services would be most beneficial.
"Our kids are showing up every day for our appointments," said Aishala Burgess, TRUCE Executive Director and assistant DA. "They're working towards their HiSETs, they're working with us towards finding job placements, and they'r working extra hard on job skills."
TRUCE did a soft launch in October 2017 with five young people. The program is now up to 11, with more added every week.
We will update this story shortly.