As gun violence spirals out of control in one American city, a 16-year-old a few states away is doing his best to make a difference in his small town. ABC News reports that Kinston, North Carolina, was plagued by a rash of gun violence in 2014, largely involving gangs. Chris Suggs didn't like what was happening to the town he loved, so he decided to do something about it. The teen called a press conference at the library in October 2014 and announced the formation of Kinston Teens. “Since young people are affected by these issues, we also need to be at the table when it comes to developing solutions,” Chris says.
Since its founding, more than 1,000 young people have participated in the mentoring programs, street cleanings, and more held by Kinston Teens. “One thing I've learned is that a lot of people don't volunteer because they've really never been asked to,” Chris says. Last December, Chris received a national award given to teen leaders, WNCT reports. And on Wednesday, he was appointed to North Carolina's Crime Commission, according to WITN. As the youngest member of the commission, which advises Gov. Pat McCrory on issues of crime and law enforcement, Chris says he hopes to bring "some fresh ideas" while learning a few things he can take back to Kinston. Kinston's mayor tells ABC Chris has "taught me not to discount the youth in this community.”