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Buffalo Peacemakers providing safe passage for students

WBFO file photo by Eileen Buckley

Mayor Byron Brown wants to make sure Buffalo Public School children remain safe before and after school. In his State of the City address Brown pledged to deliver more funding to the Buffalo Peacemakers.  WBFO's Focus on Education Reporter Eileen Buckley says the organization has made major strides in protecting children to and from school.  

"The Mayor has been very gracious toward us," said Pastor James Giles of Back to Basics Outreach Ministries. Giles serves as a Supervisor of Buffalo Peacemakers.

Giles said he was please to learn the Mayor wants to increase funding. Right now the organization receives most of its funding from the city.  

"The Mayor is very much aware of the criticalness of our circumstance," noted Giles in a WBFO News interview.

Buffalo Peacemakers "Safe Passage" program offers city school children, living difficult neighbors, protection from violent crime and drug dealers.

Credit WBFO file photo by Eileen Buckley
Burgard High School on Kensington Ave, Buffalo where there were past troubles.

Pastor Giles says they've been able to intervene to stop gangs, violence and after-school fights.
The Peacemakers work as an intervention against gang activity or for at-risk youth.  But Giles tells WBFO News the organization needs more funding from other donors to continue protecting city youth and reducing violent crimes.

"Like the schools, MST, Burgard, Bennett. Bennett we pretty much have gotten rid of a lot of things that happened at Bennett. They're not being threatened by students or kids over in the Central Park area coming over there and starting fights. That's gone. Amherst Station, right there at Amherst and Main, there's no congregating, fighting and meeting there and setting things off the way it was before we got there,"  

Credit WBFO file photo by Eileen Buckley
Outside of Bennett High School on Main Street in Buffalo where past troubles occurred.

explained Giles. 

Buffalo Peacemakers also assisted with trouble spots at Main and Utica and Delavan and Grider. 

"Particularly on Main and Utica when we had four schools conversation on that corner from 2:30 to 3:30, sometimes tension kind of spills over from Facebook. Well now those individuals see us -- it dissuades and deters any interaction, any conflict," responded Giles.

Giles said it takes about $300,000 to operate, but he noted that is a 'cost savings' to the city and county from having to deal with the aftermath of violence.

"Collectively, we've created a safe community for Buffalo, safer than other communities this size. There would be many, many more homicides, many more shootings than there currently is," noted Giles. "If we don't get adequate and substation funding to maintain this, and many of our individuals have built a wage base, they have to be compensated for this work because they are so dedicated." 
Giles said the organization works very closely with law enforcement to achieve a safer environment for youth.

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