ASBURY PARK – Big Brothers Big Sisters of Coastal & Northern New Jersey (BBBSCNNJ) hosted a Walk for Peace & Positivity on Monday, April 25, in honor of National Youth Violence Prevention Week. A total of 49 Bigs, Littles, and family members walked and raised handmade signs with encouraging messages to promote peace and positivity in the community.
The 2-mile walk was part of the BBBSCNNJ programming designed with support from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s and Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck’s community-based violence intervention (CBVI) programming. The agency is one of 24 nonprofit organizations to receive funding from the total of $8.2 million allocated for CBVI programming announced in January.
“Combating gun violence is a multi-faceted problem that requires a multi-faceted approach,” said Governor Murphy. “The funding will provide resources to both law enforcement agencies and community partners, equipping them with much-needed resources as we continue to fight the epidemic of gun violence.”
In addition to the walk, this funding was used to design and implement a curriculum to support youth and families through discussions and mentoring focused on violence prevention and intervention. Participants in the walk received a BBBSCNNJ sweatshirt and pizza was provided by the new Asbury Park restaurant, Killer Pies.
“Killer Pies is about nostalgia. It’s about bringing you back to your childhood. While those memories may be fond for some of us, we should not forget those that were not fortunate enough to enjoy weekly visits to their local slice and soda shop. We are committed to giving back and we are honored and privileged to partner with BBBS to do everything we can to make new memories that will last a lifetime with our local youth,” said Andrew Mahnken, co-owner and Big Brother Alumni.
The walk took place in Asbury Park through the main business district and was well received by local businesses and passersby. Several cars stopped to cheer on the walkers and a few spontaneous high fives were given along the way.
“Our mission has always been to create a positive difference in the lives of children through mentoring and to help prevent their involvement in risky and dangerous behaviors. This funding will increase our ability to reach youth with targeted messaging and resources for addressing and preventing violence in the communities we serve,” said William Salcedo, Executive Director of BBBSCNNJ.
For more information on Big Brothers Big Sisters visit their website at www.mentornj.org.