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Columbus non-profit aims to help juvenile car thieves

Columbus Dream has helped steer three boys involved in the “Kia Boys” away from violence and car theft to the football field.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — In July, Columbus police arrested an 11-year-old for stealing a Kia.

Just seven days later, police arrested that same 11-year-old for stealing a Hyundai from a hotel parking lot.

This is one of the reasons a new non-profit, Columbus Dream, is hoping to reach out to young kids involved with stealing cars.

“We have saved three kids so far who were a part of ‘Kia Boys’. They have changed their life since they have been out here in the program. They choose football over the streets,” said Roy Kendrix, president of programs for Columbus Dream.

Many of these boys have dealt with multiple hits. Even though they are just teens, a handful of them already have a criminal record.

“We were losing a lot of kids to the juvenile system. We are coming together to do whatever it takes to stop that,” Kendrix explained.

Columbus Dream was started by a group of men who travel around Ohio starting up youth programs to help put a stop to violence and keep teens from stealing cars, Kendrix said.

They are providing mentorship and guidance for boys who may not have it at home.

If the kids need a ride to practice, they'll pick them up. If they need jerseys, they'll help.

Whatever it takes to make sure these kids see the right goal.

Those involved in the non-profit serve as leaders and mentors in the community.

They use football a couple of hours a day Tuesdays through Fridays, a little tough love on the field and encouragement to make what they hope is a lasting impact.

“We need to go inside the community and find out what's leading them to becoming Kia boys and what's leading them to stealing cars, and what they are lacking inside the home,” Kendrix said.

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