With 6 children and teens shot and 1 killed in Chicago within hours of this week, the youth mentor says action is needed now – CBS Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) – Six children were shot in Chicago in a matter of hours this week, and a high school student is dead.

Every incident of a child or teenage shot has ripple effects. Their young friends, families and community leaders are all affected.

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One of those affected was a South Side mentor who knows one of the victims of the rash from shootings on Tuesday. She spoke on Wednesday with Steven Graves from CBS 2, and she urges parents and officials not to waste time – and take action.

With every young face and name associated with Chicago shootings, there is a friend, teacher or mentor like Geri Jones who hurts.

“We do not want to get into a position where we hear these things and we’re like, ‘Well, another boy was shot,'” Jones said. “No, it’s a valuable life.”

Caleb Westbrook, 15, is the most recently killed teenager. Someone shot Rauner College Prep students Tuesday at 1:15 p.m. on Greenview Avenue near Chicago Avenue in West Town.

Caleb Westbrook, 15, was shot and killed in the West Town neighborhood on January 18, 2022. (Source: Facebook / Legal Help FIrm)

He was one of six young people shot in one day. The reasons – in many cases – we never know.

“A lot of kids get bullied,” Jones said. “Some of the kids get shot because they do not want to be in a gang.”

Jones found that a 16-year-old boy who was shot with a girl on Lowe Avenue near 122nd Street in West Pullman used to attend her anti-violence organization’s after-school program a year ago.

And with the boy and girl who have been at 4pm on Tuesday afternoon, people like Jones can not help but wonder if things could have been different just knowing they were somewhere else.

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She sounded the alarm in November when shots were fired at West Pullman Park.

There was concern about violence as her group and others get money for activities in the summer but the funding flow freezes in the winter.

“Really the last couple of years it’s been really, really bad because of COVID,” Jones said.

Although we do not know the cause, data from the University of Chicago Crime Lab shows that the number of children shot in Chicago reached a low point in six years in 2019.

It is not clear why, but in the last two years that number has increased by almost 150 cases.

“We need our children,” Jones said, “we need to invest in them.”

Jones said she has seen the benefits of programs such as a Christmas basketball tournament with free skating – which can only be done with sponsorships.

She asks parents to get involved in their children’s lives, and others to help organizations that want to make an impact.

Despite the COVID impact, Jones is pushing forward.

“We have no choice,” she said.

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In fact, she says saving young lives is a priority.

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