Halt Violence founder looks to show troubled youth a better path

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Don't say it can't be done. He did it.

"Yes, I've been incarcerated," Larry Justice said. "I did two-and-a-half years for robbery."

So did he.

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"I also was locked up for two-and-a-half years," Leon Brihm said. "For possession."

Two men. Two similar stories. Two examples of how to turn your life around.

"I've been through a lot and the thing about it is I don't want to go through no more," Justice said. "I want to change."

Justice has been involved with Halt Violence for eight months. Brihm started a couple months ago.

"I see the positive change and I want to just help it grow," Brihm said.

He sees the difference of a positive lifestyle and having a positive influence.

"It just makes you feel good about yourself," he said. "Just the positive feedback and the positive energy that somebody wants better for you, not just yourself."

Thell Robinson is that positive influence.

"Because I've been delivered from that violent past I used to live," Robinson said. "I know that there's hope for the people that's out here doing it."

Robinson says he knows what some young black men are going through because he went through it, too.

At 18 he says he was violent. He spent seven years in prison for involuntary manslaughter and another six years and 10 months in prison for gun possession. That's when he says it hit him: he needed to change. And, he needed to change the mentality of the streets.

"We're killing off each other and that has to stop from within," he said.

It's why he started Halt Violence. His business that helps the youth and young adults with things like building resumes and getting employment and purchasing interview clothes and bus passes.

Robinson also helps with mentoring and conflict mediations, which he says has actively stopped almost 130 violent encounters on the streets in the last four years.

"If we can halt that violence we can continue to have these black males inside of their kids' lives instead of being six feet under or in prison," Robinson said.

Three shining examples of not how it can be done, but how it should be done.

"Things are going to work out for you," Brihm said of today's youth. "You got to listen before you lead."

Justice says he's now working two jobs and hopes to soon open his own food truck business. Brihm says he owns a cleaning company and would like to eventually get in the business of helping troubled youth.

Robinson says Halt Violence is paid for through donations. More information about the organization can be found here.