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269Funeral Today

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  • Smith, Yvonne (MPD)
    May 2, 2005
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      Nearly three months ago, MPD school resource officers, officials, and a team from the U.S. Attorney's Office met with a group of youth, to get feedback on a series of potential Public Service Announcements against gun violence.  The results are being seen around the city on Metro Buses and in various locations around the city, under the office of "Project Safe Neighborhoods."
      Today, at the funeral of Ballou Student, Lavelle Jones, teenagers will distribute these Project Safe Neighborhoods anti-gun violence posters to other teens attending the service.  In addition, they will wear "Murder Free DC" gear from No Murders DC, a murder-free movement here in the city.  Members of MPD will also be present. 
      I visited the home of Lavelle Jones on Sunday.  His mother and grandmother remembered most, a son who kept a smile on his face and laughter in a room.  When I talked to Ballou students last week, they remembered him the same way, "the friendly kid".  They also said, "he was no thug, just in the wrong place at the wrong time with his cousin."  Channel 7 reporters also had fond memories of his personality.
      I put this information out here at 4am today for two reasons, 1) because it saddens me to know that we will be attending the funeral of a young person who had potential, someone who had been accepted in a program with Channel 7 news to train with a local cameraman (because they wanted to give an at-risk young person an opportunity and because his personality was uplifting); 2) because I want you to think of him and find ways to support programs and organizations this summer (volunteering) that will reach out to young adults, just like Mr. Jones.  I assure you, there is a reward in reaching out.  Tell a young person you know, "don't let your classmates have to say, 'he/she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.'"
      Project Safe Neighborhoods: http://www.psn.gov/ (202) 616-0861
      Yvonne Smith 
      Community Outreach
      Metropolitan Police Department

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