Getting kids involved in sports, art and music not only increases their academic success, it reduces crime. These success stories come from the U.S. and other parts of the globe:
Detroit boxing coach Khali Sweeney uses an innovative approach to help his community. Sweeney founded the Downtown Youth Boxing Gym, where youth are trained to box. The kids also receive food, clothes and academic counseling. They have a 100 percent secondary school graduation rate, compared to 65 percent for the rest of Detroit. According to a 2008 study by the Fight Crime: Invest in Kids organization, secondary school graduates are less likely to spend time in jail. The study found that 68 percent of state prison inmates nationwide do not have a secondary school diploma.
In New Orleans, secondary school marching bands use music to keep young people off the streets. At Edna Karr High School, 80 students sharpen their musical skills with the help of dedicated instructor Christopher Herrero. Performing in the band, they say, gives them direction and better odds of attending college.
In 2013, the U.S. Department of State partnered with the Foundation for the Autonomy and Development of the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua to reduce crime in rural communities. A project of this partnership, Safe and Healthy Communities, provided positive outlets for youth in areas of heavy crime. Activities such as sports and art brought together young people from rival gangs — and it worked. After the project, a local police chief wrote that crime reports decreased from 15 a day to one every nine days.