Taking Back the Community: The Catalyst Effect

WAVY-TV 10 Photo

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) -- In 2016, there were more than 100 homicides in Hampton Roads. Left behind were grieving moms, dads, brothers and sisters. That’s why teenagers on the Peninsula are comforting those who lost loved ones.

"In a world where teens may get a bad rap, I see about 20 to 25 teens around the room who don't fit that mold," said Cortez Higgs.

Higgs created the Catalyst Effect three years ago. His group is aimed at giving teens a positive outlet and is made up of young people from all over the area.

"This is an event where we are going to be encouraging families in the Hampton Roads community who have lost loved ones to violent crimes," Higgs told the teens.

10 On Your Side caught up with the Catalyst Effect at an event planning meeting. The teens are holding an event for families who know violence all too well, called "You are Loved!"

"I think it is sad what's going on," said Ceniah Higgs. "These families they lost someone that's special to them."

The teens are planning a comforting event, which includes taking care of everything: Refreshments, entertainment and decorations.

"We want them to know that they are loved," added Ceyali Higgs.

This is a chance for families to forget about the pain for one night.

"You get to encourage all these families and show that they are not alone anymore," said Jolissa Smith.

"I love my community and I just want to let them know that I care," Ceyali added. "I'm out there trying to make a difference."

Catalyst Effect is working with the city to stop the killing. Teenagers say unfortunately, they have become too familiar tragedy.

"It's sad, because I think about what if that was me,” Ceniah said.  “What if was my friend, my brother or my sister?  They are in the prime of their life just for it to be cut off so that it sad."

Cortez Higgs says change has to start somewhere.

"It is an epidemic, but I also believe it is an epidemic with a cure on the way," Higgs added.

"People think that teens are selfish,” Ceniah said.  “Not all teens are selfish.  There are people out there who really care."

You are Loved!
6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Feb. 17, 2017
South Morrison Family Education Center
746 Adams Drive, Newport News

The Catalyst Effect is open to all teens. Click here for more information on signing up.

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