NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — It’s an all-hands-on-deck effort to take back the community.
One group in Newport News is specifically focused on protecting and empowering youth — and it’s working.
Ever since Ketchmore Kids has partnered with the Boys and Girls Club to connect with kids after school, they’ve helped cut gun violence in the neighborhood in half.
Newport News Police say this area has been a major focus for them for cutting down on crime.
Kerchmore Kids is looking to help give kids a new focus so police aren’t “catching” them.
“Ketch more kids than drugs, Ketch more kids than the prison, Ketch more kids than guns, Ketch more kids than the streets,” is the motto of Ketchmore Kids.
Troy Ketchmore and his sister, Chanell Ketchmore, work to create spaces where kids can grow and develop without fear of being killed or hurt.
Troy Ketchmore told 10 On Your Side that he spent 26 years in prison for a murder that evidence later proved he didn’t commit.
Now, he wants to help put kids on the right path.
“Everything I went through has put me in a position to try to use this to make a difference in somebody else’s life,” Troy Ketchmore said.
Chanell Ketchmore said they make connections with kids by helping with homework, playing games and serving as mentors. And the kids are pretty fond of them too.
“She’s nice and kind,” said 9-year-old Neytiri WIlliams about Chanell.
When asked what Chanell says to her, she told us she says, “Stay positive.”
“Being able to show up and have people run to you and they know your names,” Chanell Ketchmore said. “They recognize you and they know you because of the impact.”
Newport News Police tell us they investigated two murders at the Aqueduct Apartments in 2022 — and the area is a big focus for cutting down on violent crime.
This year, there was one deadly shooting that took place two weeks ago.
Showing kids programs like this are helping them stay focused and know they have someone to turn to if they need to talk.
“Things that are outside of whether someone was hurt or killed, right, because life is still happening, and so these great things that kids get to be kids, so that’s a part of what you see happening, but they get to do it in a safe space,” Chanell Ketchmore said.
“We’re trying to keep them from desensitizing this thing and really understanding that this is not life, this is how we’re supposed to be living life,” Troy Ketchmore said.
Even offering a program for parents called the Triple P Parenting Program to get them involved too.
Having a positive influence on kids so they can pass it on for years to come.
“We don’t want to be doing something, and it stops,” Troy Ketchmore said. “We want to stay boots on the ground, consistency. You win their trust by doing that and we want to sustain this. Look we’re not just here and we’re gonna be gone, we are a part of the community now.”
Ketchmore Kids has a Please Stop Shooting event coming up at noon Saturday in Suffolk.
They also have a gala coming up later this month, called the Black Excellence Gala.
They hand out several awards, and you may recognize a face very familiar to the Aqueduct Boys and Girls Club who will receive a big award this year.