NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — A new program rolled out Wednesday, in an effort to keep young people away from gun violence in New Orleans.

The program called ‘NOLA Love’ was created by the administration at InspireNOLA and Renew Schools Charter. They describe it as a way to invest in young people before they get caught up in the legal system.

“I am mentally exhausted by the gun violence in our city. There is gun violence daily, involving the adolescents of our community and I am saddened by the number of my peers that have died due to gun violence. We want community leaders to help us stop gun violence,” said McDonough 35 Student Body President Janell Young.

Just a week prior, the senior class had to bury a fellow student, a victim of gun violence.

It was a call to action, and city and school leaders gathered at McDonough 35 to reveal the new initiative.

“Today marks the first step of our pledge day for NOLA Love. Next week, we will have a large rally where we are hopeful over 6,000 students will come together to celebrate, to show love to each other, to try to change the trajectory of what is out there for our youth,” said the CEO of Inspire NOLA Charter Schools.

The program consists of four pillars, touching on family mental health services and parent and community involvement.

“It is smarter and easier, to invest and build strong boys and girls– than to try to come back down the road and try to repair broken men and women,” said District Attorney Jason Williams.

The kickoff rally will be held on Oct. 12 at the Smoothie King Center, with a goal of drawing students from throughout the New Orleans school district.

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