KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Country Club Plaza is a common hangout for teens, and it was just three years ago that a violent fight broke out there. Now Club KC is doing everything it can to make sure that never happens again.
It was the year 2011 when a mob fight with more than 100 teens happened resulting in three people being shot, and dozens injured.
When Roosevelt Lyons saw that headline on his television screen, he knew something had to be done.
“98 percent of the kids are good kids, doing what they're supposed to do, looking for a place to hang out,” he said.
It's why Lyons got Club KC off the ground. For the past three years it's given kids a place to dance and play sports. But this year, he started noticing a new trend.
“Not all kids want to just dance the night away,” said Lyons.
Some teens approached Lyons and said they're too shy for dancing and don't enjoy sports, which got him thinking. So this year teens will also have the opportunity to get involved in the arts in five new locations, which will include everything from poetry to painting. And teens will have a chance to get off the court.
“Everyone is different. I have one that's very outspoken and I have one that's kind of shy and wouldn’t want to do sports and be in front of people,” said Shilene Aaron, a mother to two teens. “The more exposed we can get our youth to all areas of life, whether it's arts or entertainment, whatever we can expose them to, the greater off they'll be.”
Lyons says in Club KC's first year alone, teen crime rates dropped two percent, engaging more than 10,000 kids.
It hasn't stopped teen violence altogether though. Just two months ago a fight involving more than 50 teens broke out on the plaza, injuring dozens.
Lyons says he knows there's no quick fix, but hopes this expansion will be a step in the right direction.
“If you give them something fun and safe to do they're going to take advantage of it and they're just going to be kids. That's all they want to do,” he said.