Stop the Violence block party in South Bend

SOUTH BEND, Indiana (WNDU) – The Fremont Youth Foundation is hosting its annual Stop the Violence block party at Fremont Park.

Beginning at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, families celebrated “for a cause” to raise awareness about gun violence and show children how communities can show peace, love and unity.

“I know a lot of kids make bad decisions or make the wrong choice because they feel like they have nothing else to choose from and when we’re out here and we’re pushing nothing but peace, love, unity, education and fun too.” and just loving them and giving them all those resources, then they learn that there are other things to do and not to make bad choices,” said Kim Clowers, President of the Fremont Youth Foundation.

The Fremont Youth Foundation began holding block parties in Fremont Park in 2014 after 18-year-old Cornell Taylor was shot.

“We wanted to come together and bring a different vibe, a different energy to the park,” said Blu Casey, founder of the Fremont Youth Foundation. “This park was notorious for youth gang violence and neighborhood gang violence, all those things, so we wanted to change that and make it something positive, something that can be passed down to youth as peace, love, unity and fun.”

Block Party attendees were treated to a free meal, State Farm-sponsored school supplies, and a variety of fun activities.

“This is a community event designed to help the kids prepare for school to make sure they have the gear they need,” said South Bend’s Kathye Waters. “I brought my grandkids here for fun and school supplies.”

South Bend 1st Ward Councilor Canneth Lee lives in the neighborhood and wants to remind people that violence is a learned behavior.

“What we need to do is treat it before it happens and teach them positive things, like reminders of the community, getting together, having a good time, eating hot dogs and chips and drinks and putting on makeup,” Pastor said Lee. “We need to instill those kinds of memories in kids so that as they get older, they’ll know that this is community and not violence.”

A local mother who went to this park as a child brought her daughter to the block party to buy school supplies and hopefully create new memories.

“She’s having fun,” said Brianna Johnson of South Bend. “She stopped by her brother’s. She’s got makeup on, she’s just finished riding the bull, and when we pulled up she said, oh my god, this is going to be the best day ever. So yeah, she’s having fun.

The Fremont Youth Foundation and the local community raised all funds for the event, making the event completely free to attend.

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