TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – How do we reach the children of Toledo and break the cycle of violence? This is the question to which Tracee Perryman, Ph.D. devotes her life.
“There’s definitely a sense of hopelessness,” says Dr. Perryman, CEO and co-founder of the Center of Hope Family Services. She works daily with children from Sylvania Area Family Services and the Robinson community in Toledo.
A new survey of young people conducted by the city of Toledo shows responses that do not surprise Dr. Perryman. For example, of the 184 respondents between the ages of 12 and 24, more than half said they felt the Toledo community failed young people.
57% said they strongly believe that violence affects their community. When asked if they thought young people were racially targeted by police, 73% said yes.
“I think another thing I would take away from the survey is the importance of including caregivers, loved ones and peers in the solution, because they are the people our young people trust,” adds Dr. Perryman, who says the answers that stick for her, mostly relate to community providers.
When asked, “Who do you trust to go to if you need help?” and you could click on more than one answer, 64% clicked on relatives, 47% on friends, but only 5% chose providers/community agencies.
“Children don’t feel safe seeking out these resources, or they underuse these resources,” says Dr. Perryman.
Now she is continuing her work to reach these young people in the community, but said the system itself may need to be redesigned.
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