Gang Free Initiative Ramping Up in Yakima - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Gang Free Initiative Ramping Up in Yakima

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YAKIMA, Wash.-- City leaders in Yakima are getting ready to implement the Gang Free Initiative, a program they hope will help reduce the number of gang members on the streets.

It's no secret, the gang problem is pretty bad in Yakima. In fact, it's an issue that local police are forced to deal with every day.

But now, under Yakima's Gang Free Initiative, local leaders are hoping to stop the problem head-on by trying to positively influence potential future gang members.

Sixty kids at both Garfield and Barge Lincoln Elementary School are being identified for the Gang Free Initiative program.

Under it, they'll get extra tutoring through Madison House, gang awareness classes through the Yakima Police Athletic League, and even a one-on-one mentor through the YMCA.

"They just need somebody to inspire them, encourage them, give them some guidance, direction, and little different perspective," said Bob Romero, executive director of Yakima's YMCA.

Romero says the YMCA is currently taking applications for mentors. If you're interested, just visit the Downtown Yakima facility.

And to learn more about the Gang Free Initiative and gangs throughout our area, tune in Sunday, May 12th at 6:30pm for NBC Right Now's special report on The Evolution of Gangs.