Gun violence is an insidious issue we're grappling with on a national level but the problem is particularly intense in Chicago. According to Homicide Watch Chicago, in the last week alone, 12 people were killed in various shootings, including Dillan Harris, a 13-month-old, who "was run down by a vehicle fleeing a deadly gang shooting in the Woodlawn neighborhood on the South Side."
While a problem of this scale can't be fixed overnight, some of the city's military veterans are working to prevent future incidences of violence from affecting young people. In 2011, the Leave No Veteran Behind program founded "Safe Passage" -- a program that pays veterans to patrol the routes that students take to get to their schools.
In just four years, Safe Passage has already proven to be a great success. According to the Chicago Public Schools' website, the initiative "led to a 20 percent decline in criminal incidents around Safe Passage schools, a 27 percent drop in incidents among students, and a 7 percent increase in attendance over the past two years in high schools that currently have the Safe Passage program."
Recently, NationSwell produced a mini documentary on the initiative, in which it says 400 veterans have participated.
Not only does the program help students, it provides the veterans with financial compensation as well as resources to advance their own careers. NationSwell reports that the "LNVB also provides its workers resume assistance" and helps pay down the vet's student loans in exchange for their participation in the program.