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‘Teens in Transition’ program gives high-risk teens a second chance

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A new program in Kansas City is giving high-risk teens a second chance.

The Teens in Transition program put more than a dozen teens from the urban core to work this summer. But, they weren't working for the city or a corporation. They worked for the past nine weeks at bettering themselves.

A community barbeque Sunday near Indiana and Linwood was a graduation of sorts for the 19 students who completed the program. For most of the teens who worked it was their first job and first paycheck.

The program offered tutoring and case management as well as life skills, job training and art lessons. It's a push by the No Violence Alliance to keep the peace in the metro.

"What we did is we identified groups of individuals across the city that were high risk for being the victim of perpetrating a violent crime," said Captain Joe McHale with the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department.

McHale said the program is working. He said more high risk teens are off the street and on the right path.

"I think we would be fools not to build upon this and take the momentum that we have this year. We're at a historic homicide rate that's the lowest it's been in almost 50 years, but we have so much work to do to make it just consistent and sustainable," he said.

The program was paid for in part by the KCMO Police Department, Jackson County Legislature and the Health Care Foundation.

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