Bookstore Opens Its Doors To At-Risk Kids In Effort To Reduce Violence

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UPDATED: Tuesday January 21, 2014 11:59 PM

Inside The Book Suite on East Long Street, men are teaching boys how to live a life free of drugs, crime and violence.

"Everybody knows when you come on Long Street, the bookstore - it's a neutral zone. No gang violence. None of that, none of that's happening here,” said Sean Stevenon.

Stevenson started "End The Violence" to keep youth out of the pipeline to prison. His words carry weight with them because he spent 20 years in prison on a drug conviction.

“If you don't understand what they come from or what they're dealing with, there's no way you can assist them,” he said.

Stevenson, and his band of neighborhood volunteers, says they engage any young person who comes thru the door. It's about helping set goals and how to achieve them.

Stevenson helped 19-year-old Nasean Thomas come to grips with the reason he doesn't have a job.

“It's really on me. I'm not taking the initiative and being responsible to do what I need to do,” said Nasean.

The group taught his brother, Seanteais, to be selective about the company he keeps and how to sniff out trouble before it ever gets to him.

“Why should I sell drugs when I can go ahead and get a job?” added Seanteais.

Stevenson, who manages the book store by day and molds young minds at night, calls both jobs the work he plans to keep doing for the rest of his life.

“My thing is not to tell a person how to get money, but how not to kill another person. That's what I advocate. Stop the violence,” said Stevenson.

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