Chattanooga non-profit pushes 'Stop Killing and Start Living' ev - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Chattanooga non-profit pushes 'Stop Killing and Start Living' events

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - One local non-profit is on a mission to reach young people and stop the violence. Touch My Life Ministries put on its second Stop Killing and Start Living event Sunday. The organizer says most young people just need someone to talk to.

Dozens of young people filled the Washington Hills Rec Center Sunday for a meal and to have some fun.

"It's really going to help out all the youth and stop all the violence that we have going on here in chattanooga,” says Marquist Kirby.

Kirby is just one of many who are participating in the Stop Killing and Start Living program. The non-profit Touch My Life Ministries has partnered with the Chattanooga Youth and Family Development to give young people a place to play sports and receive job training.

"One thing I think might help people, is just knowing that you have someone to talk to that can help you out,” says Kirby.

"I came out of school in 1990 and the only thing we had to worry about was just a fight, a fist fight. Now children want to pull out guns,” says Connie Hatten.

Hatten is director of the non-profit ministry. She wants the youth of Chattanooga to know there is someone there to listen and learn from.

"Let them know they don't have to survive with gun violence. They can have a positive and productive life with doing everything living. And being positive through sports, a job,” she says.

"I once was in a gang for 16 years. I did 17 and half years in prison,” says Cornelius Carroll.

Cornelius Carroll came from Nashville to mentor the teens. He has written a book about gangs and wants his life to help turn others around.

"I basically come out and talk to kids, put my life on display, hoping they don't make the same mistakes that made. I made a lot mistakes and I don't want them to make those kind of mistakes,” says Carroll.

"Too many of the guys that we know, and close friends of mine have died because of gang and gun violence here in Chattanooga. And what she's doing, I hope it stops that right now,” says Kirby.

About 40 teens are in the program now but Hatten says more are always welcome. They plan on hosting an event every other month at different rec centers. If you are interested in helping the effort, you can contact Hatten at 423-596-2653. 
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