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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WGNO) — Save Our Youth is a business that grew out of the non-profit, Level-Up Campaign. Its mission is to reach the youth of New Orleans with resources care and respect. In doing so, they hope to sew seeds of wisdom. They know that there is value in living an upstanding life, but there are pressures in neighborhoods that will deter youth from doing so.

Roderick Joseph is the founder of Save Our Youth. For him, it’s a personal mission of helping kids.

Roderick sees himself in the young people he helps saying, “We are saving our youth from a troubled future. I was a troubled youth.  I did three years in a state penitentiary and three months in solitary confinement.  I just didn’t have it all together.  So it made us want to cater to youth a little longer, just to see if the mentorship helps if you deal with them until they are almost 25 years old. 

Save Our Youth mentors youth between the ages of 14 and 24. Along with the Level-Up Campaign, they provide business consultation, athletic programs, event management, and employment opportunities. Young People are able to make money through the business and one way is through screen printing. There are about 40 young men and women in the program.

Often, Roderick says the reason for the uptick in crime is because so many live impoverished in the city. New Orleans has a rate 17% higher than the national average of children living under poverty. It’s a problem that dates back to Hurricane Katrina and the lack of access to resources and better infrastructure.

“What would you do if everyone is scared of you? You are going to muscle up off of that. That is what the kids are doing.  They are taking a fear tactic from everyone and they are running with it,” says Roderick.

Save Our Youth began at a time when there seemed to have been an acceleration of crime in the city of New Orleans.

NOPD Superintendent Shaun D. Ferguson summed up last week’s crime trends in New Orleans says, “We’ve had 16 shootings, 6 armed robberies, 2 carjackings, 46 auto burglaries, and 34 auto thefts. In total, we have seized 21 guns off the streets of New Orleans last week.”

To reach children, Save Our Youth puts on concerts regularly at over 40 schools.

“New Orleans pushes you to grow up faster than any normal city would. We fall victim to it. I fell victim to it. It can happen! Our job is to mold them into self-sufficient individuals, by any means necessary,” says Roderick Joseph.

To help Save Our You in their Mission, you can reach them by clicking here. On Labor Day Weekend, Save Our Youth and the Level up Campaign will be hosting a charity dodgeball community event. See the details below: