Providing a positive influence

Maria Maldonado TMs son was killed during a drive by shooting Monday night. She said the murder has devastated her family and has left those living in South Tower Estates wondering when the violence will stop. Just a few block from where the murder happened there are children laughing"making the best of their summer by playing basketball and enjoying the few months of down time before they have to go back to school. It is all part of a local nonprofit ARISE TMs efforts to keep kids off the streets and to provide a positive influence in their lives.

"The community is helping a lot to organize themselves into improving. When they need help they are asking for help---there is a lot of hope," Ramona Casa said.

That hope is shown on each and every face of the children who attend these summer programs. "You see how happy they are with just playing ball and stuff, Volunteer Lisa Gasparez said. It is a lot better than them just being out in the streets and doing who knows what. Andre Guzman has taken part in the summer festivities at Arise since she was 3 years old. Andre told Action 4 News she is lucky because she has support at home.

"They {parents} teach me that going to college is very important, Guzman said. They didn't get to go to college and want the best for me."

Guzman said she understands there are many kids who do not get that encouragement and can be led down a much more destructive path.