BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A call to action. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake joins forces with community leaders to battle the growing homicide rate among young African-American men.

Marcus Washington has more on who is being challenged to join the fight.

They’re looking for anyone who wants to help, but they really want to focus on male volunteers and particularly men of color. They really want to influence these young men in a positive way.

It’s a tough reality, but the normalcy for many neighborhoods is often crime and poverty.

“We see liquor stores, we see abandoned houses, we see drug dealers, we see drug users,” said Munir Bahar, Cor Health Institutes.

Munir Bahar with young mentoring group Cor Health Institutes says those sights often influence the youth negatively in the community.

Washington: “I know you said a lot of kids if they don’t see it, a lot of times they don’t even know it exists.”

Bahar: “A parent’s job, a community’s job is to expand the circle of a child, to expand their sphere of exposure so that they can begin to see the different possibilities in life.”

In 2014, there were 211 homicides in Baltimore City–189 of those were black males. That’s nearly 90 percent.

For many of the kids being targeted by the programs, their world only consists of their neighborhoods–brick buildings, concrete ground. What the programs want to do is open their minds and futures to the sky, which is limitless.

“I keep hearing the same thing: how can I help?” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.

The mayor says the crime statistics and the increasing desire from the community wanting to help created “Call to Action.” It’s a push to get men in the city involved by influencing the youth with their presence.

“If you see it, you can touch it. These young people have to touch it, they have to be able to reach out and touch someone that owns a business, someone that’s in city council, someone who is an engineer. They have to be able to reach out and touch it and see that they can be that,” said Baltimore City Councilman Brandon Scott.

The inaugural discussion will take place next Tuesday, March 24 at 6 p.m.

For more information on how you can help or receive help with the program, click here.

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