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Amid Violent Summer, Linden Leaders Call For Youth Job Opportunities

Geno Tucker, CEO of Urban Scouts, at a press conference on violence in Linden on July 17, 2020.
Nick Evans
Geno Tucker, CEO of Urban Scouts, at a press conference on violence in Linden on July 17, 2020.

Linden clergy and business leaders are looking for ways to support youth in the community after a rash of violence. 

The organization Concerned Linden Clergy argues that plenty of opportunities are available for young people in Linden – they just need help finding them.

Chris Suel leads Columbus’ My Brother’s Keeper program.

"It’s time to turn our faith and hope for a better future into action. Young men, if you carry a gun, I urge you to learn a trade and carry a different tool," Suel says. “If graffiti is your art of expression, let us help you learn to monetize and get paid. If you can sell drugs, you can run a business—same hustle, different game.”

Among the projects highlighted at the event is a youth bike club called Urban Scouts. Geno Tucker, the organization’s CEO, explains they’re rolling out a landscaping program later this month to connect members will decent paying summer employment.

"Let's be honest, if you ain’t making no money, you're going to find a way. If you ain’t eating, you're going to find a way," Tucker says. "If you ain’t got no friends, you're going to find a group of people to click with that's going to be your friends. We need to change what that looks like. We need to make sure our kids have equal opportunity to good paying jobs."

Participants in Urban Scouts will make $13.50 an hour to maintain a handful of local garden areas. They expect to work 20 hours a week.

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.