LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A non-profit that started in the 90s and has continued to make progress with its fight to reduce violence was selected as the Difference Maker recipient. L.O.V.E., or Let Our Violence End, was founded in 1994 at the peak of Central Arkansas’s gang activity. The initial goal was to train youth as peer mentors to counter gang recruiting and school violence.
L.O.V.E. recently met with a group of pastors to come up with a plan to attack the increasing violence in Little Rock, which has seen a growth by more than 15 percent this year.
“That’s what we’re trying to find out is where we can make the most impact, the quickest and that will have long term impact in the lives of people in our community,” Eagle Point Church of God Pastor Jerry Riddle said.
The group understands there’s not one solution, so it is taking a wholistic approach and starting with the Whetstone Boys & Girls Club in the Wakefield area. Volunteers recently gathered to spruce up the facility by painting rooms, cleaning out brush, and restoring the ball park.
“Our initial work was to move there and to bring transformation ultimately into the hearts and to the community, but the transformation of the facility,” Riddle said.
That transformation has not gone unnoticed. Rainwater, Holt and Sexton honored L.O.V.E with the Difference Maker Award and a $1,000 donation.
“It came as a statement of affirmation because the needs are great,” Riddle said.
L.O.V.E. recently purchased yard signs and door tags to place in the community. The signs read “There’s Victory with Love,” which is the message the group hopes to spread throughout the community.