DENVER (CBS4) – The City and County of Denver is giving out $125,000 in microgrants to 17 organizations that work to prevent youth violence. One of the programs is called Struggle of Love.

(credit: CBS)

Each day kids work in the Montbello area handing out food during the pandemic.

is the founder of the organization designed to help kids.

“To stay out of trouble, stay away from the violence and work on this mental thing that makes us angry and the first thing we do is shoot,” said Hodge, who has turned his own life around. “I got hit with a baseball bat. When I was down on the ground I was shot three times.”

Joel Hodge (credit: CBS)

Hodge lost an eye in the shooting. Known as Coach Eye, he is now helping others. He starts with the young ones.

Next to the food bank operation is a day camp. There is also a mentoring program.

Tayvion Washington was a member of Struggle of Love and one of five young people recently killed. Eris Griffin knew him.

(credit: CBS)

“He was one of the kids that came up here to work on the food bank and he was helping out every day and was another one who was trying to change and do the better,” said Griffin.

Griffin knows all about violence. He still has a bullet lodged in his neck.

“The violence is unnecessary,” Hodge told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger. “It’s ridiculous that’s my cry out. Please stop the violence.”

The microgrants going to Hodge’s organization and others come after the creation of the Youth Violence Action Prevention Table last year by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock to deal with youth violence during the COVID-19 crisis.

Rick Sallinger

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