NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Students may be back in school, but some of the same problems from over the summer continue to linger. Over the past few months, youth in Davidson County have been both the victims and suspects of violent crimes.
“If I could use two words to describe our youth in Davidson County, I would say help wanted, because these guys want your help, and they need help,” explained Todd Campbell, the CEO of nonprofit Backfield in Motion.
Campbell sees the help that’s needed every day through the nonprofit. Backfield in Motion focuses on education and literacy for at-risk youth. However, he said it’s hard not to get emotional while watching continued crime scenes play out on the news.
“It’s a rough reaction because you’re like, ‘Ugh, man, I know that kid and he’s a good kid,’ so you have a lot of times where the victim or the person who did it, sometimes they just need help,” explained Campbell.
The program helps kids, many starting at just second and third grade; some areas need more help than others.
“Traditionally, we started in East and North (Nashville), but we’ve seen that we need to have our kids looked at down in Antioch as well,” said Campbell.
This area is now considered part of hot spots officials are hoping to address.
“We know that there is an area in North Nashville that has definitely been there for a long period of time, and a lot of that is based on the social deterrence of health, and all of those things that just place them at higher risk,” said Dr. Gill C. Wright III, the Metro Public Health Department’s director of health.
MPHD views violence throughout the county as a “public health concern.”
“We know that as with any infection, when you’re exposed, then you’re more likely to spread it. So if you’re exposed to violence, you’re more likely to propagate or spread that violence, so whatever we can do to get in and intervene to mitigate that spread,” Wright explained. “We’re really looking at ACEs which is Adverse Childhood Events; if you have a number of those as a child, you’re less resilient. You’re also more likely to have poor health when you become older; you’re more likely to have an addiction, and you’re more likely to propagate violence.”
MPHD is now taking on new approaches to stop violent trends at a young age. The department is conducting its first Youth Listening Session on Wednesday, Sept. 13, in partnership with Metro Nashville Public Schools to better understand how Nashville high school students perceive and experience community safety.