PORTSMOUTH, Va. ( WAVY) — In November of 2021, five women were shot and three died in gun violence that started as a domestic dispute in the Young Terrace section of Norfolk. The crime scene is near the YWCA of South Hampton Roads.

“I have a unique lens every day to look out and look into a community that is in hurt and in pain,” said Executive Director Michelle Ellis-Young.

Virginian- Pilot reporter Sierra Jenkins covered the Young Terrace mass shooting. Months later, the 25-year-old journalist was killed in a mass shooting on nearby Granby Street. The man who allegedly killed her and two others is the son of one of the women killed in Young Terrace.

“It’s such a tragic situation of a young life that was snuffed away senselessly through violence.

(WAVY photo/Regina Mobley)

Solutions to intersectional crime in Hampton Roads will now get an intersectional approach thanks to a program that is new for the YWCA of South Hampton Roads. Founded by former Vanderbilt University basketball player Shan Foster, Amend Together offers a 21 -week curriculum that takes aim at teaching boys how to be better men. It’s in place in 23 Metro Nashville middle and high schools, Central Virginia and Texas.

The South Hampton Roads YWCA hopes to launch the program in October of 2022. According to the organization, Virginia ranks 14th in the nation for domestic violence-related homicides by men against women.

“These young men are coming into the program and they will be able to learn coping skills, problem-solving skills, and what healthy masculinity looks like… and really change the future for women and girls right here in Hampton Roads.”

The YWCA of South Hampton Roads is eyeing a location in southside Norfolk for the launch of its first school-based location.

“This program may not be a panacea for domestic violence and community, but it certainly is a program that allows us to rally a community of men in the mission of women and support of young boys which ultimately supports their families and all of the relationships they are engaged in,” said Ellis -Young.

What can you do to help take back the community? The Amend Together program needs ambassadors to spread the word and to gather resources.

A meeting for prospective ambassadors and supporters takes place on August 30, 6 to 8 p.m. at the Slover Library in downtown Norfolk. Amend Together founder Shan Foster is expected to attend the event.

For more information contact Program Manager, Cierra Lewis: cierra.lewis@ywca-shr.org.