Waterloo Church Row working to prevent violence early - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo Church Row working to prevent violence early

WATERLOO (KWWL)--- Recent crime in the Church Row neighborhood in Waterloo has drawn negative attention to the area.  But many congregations in the area are doing what they can to provide programs for kids so that they don't get involved in that kind of activity.

Beautiful cathedrals line 4th Street along Waterloo's Church Row.  But as kids who live here know; all too often, this area is a hotbed of crime.

"Robberies, people killed because of robberies.  And you usually hear police sirens almost every day," said Craig Bennett, who lives near Church Row.

That's why many of these churches, like First Congregational UCC, offer programs to keep kids off the street.

"I think that's real important that they have somewhere they know that they can go and be safe, and they can do some activities that will expand them a little and all that," said First Congregational youth ministry director Greg Holt.

This theatre group is rehearsing for an upcoming performance, which will touch on some of the very things that are happening.

"This play that we're doing is called ‘Don't U Luv Me'.  It is about teen dating violence, and I think it reaches out to teenagers in this neighborhood who do bad things and make bad decisions, and it helps them," said theatre group member Kate McGuire.

All of these students realize that having a safe place to go and be around people with positive attitudes will help keep them away from being lured into a life of crime. 

"Theatre's been a really good way to avoid temptations because I'm always really busy.  And I don't really have the time to get tempted into doing the bad things," said theatre group member Sam Card.

So this theatre group is setting the stage to defy what's happening in the neighborhood surrounding them, by setting a good example for their peers to follow.

Several other congregations in Church Row also have activities planned this summer to help keep kids off the streets, including vacation Bible school, free meals, and more.

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek

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