ST. LOUIS – Better Family Life, Urban League, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, and the St. Louis Public School District are gearing up for a new initiative designed to keep students safe when they return to school.
Approximately 500 volunteers are needed at St. Louis bus stops in an effort to protect children from violence.
Volunteers are training Monday and Tuesday night for Better Family Life's Neighborhood Net Project. They’re looking for men 18 years or older to secure a safe passage for young students during the first week of school.
“By working with the community, it gives us those extra eyes, people who can make that call there as a buffer if there is crime,” said David Glenn, St. Louis Public Schools.
Neighborhood Net is looking for 500 male volunteers to monitor close to 200 bus stops the first week of school.
“With the culture of crime and violence and the overall atmosphere in some of our more challenged neighborhoods, a male presence is needed. This effort will provide a safety net and a sense of comfort for students and parents,” said James Clark, vice president of community outreach for Better Family Life.
Volunteers will be vetted and trained to man the stops. The volunteers would also make sure the students get on the right school bus.
“For a young boy or girl being on a bus stop it can be scary. Some bus stops are near vacant buildings, vacant lots, or there are overgrown weeds,” Clark said.
Organizers said it’s an effort to protect children from violence.
Multiple children have been shot and killed in the St. Louis area this summer and community leaders believe something must be done.
“People are expressing ‘I sit at home all day. I watch what is going on, I often wonder what I do.’ This is something that every person can stand and have two feet,” Clark said.
The training session will take place at Sweetie Pies Upper Crust on Delmar Boulevard August 5 and August 6 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Background checks will be administered.