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DMV organization hopes to curb violence through summer STEM camps

After a violent several months in the DMV, the group STEM4US! launched a summer event to help steer kids away from the violence through involvement in summer camp.

WASHINGTON — It's been a violent year in the nation's capital. Four people, including two teens, were killed in separate shootings in Washington, D.C. during the past weekend.

It's part of a concerning trend of violence we are seeing around the D.C. region.

For the fifth consecutive year, homicides in Washington, D.C. are rising. We are only six months into the year and D.C. has reported more than 100 homicides so far in 2022. That’s about a 21% increase from the same time last year.

On the heels of this violence, the group STEM4US! launched a summer event to help steer kids away from the violence. It’s called the "hackathon," which helps teach hundreds of middle and high school students about cyber security.

"If we can get young people directly into the pipeline of getting training and actually finding things to do particularly over the summer time, then they can change not only their lives but the lives of their families and that’s what we are focusing on," said founder Talib I. Karim.

Karim was a witness to the murder of his next door neighbor in their suburban Washington, D.C. community. 

"I have long understood the importance of exciting youth about cyber careers to safeguard them from violence. This incident strikes home, literally, and inspires me to work even harder," Karim said.

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Karim said the program has two goals. First, to train more young professionals in STEM fields. They also want to provide engaging activities for kids to enroll in during the summer months.

On July 14th, the organization STEM4US!  is hosting a conversation with parents and educators about ways to expand access to summer camp for area kids.

"If recent indicators are accurate, this summer may see even more increases in violence, especially impacting our youth. To safeguard our youth, STEM4US! plans to offer 100 youth valuable cyber training, and mentoring," Karim shared online.

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