FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Workers at a nonprofit group that help at-risk teens in Fort Pierce said this week's mass shooting is only reigniting their passion to change young lives.
Project Lift teaches young men and women trade skills like welding, mechanics and carpentry. They also have a program that helps them finish their high school degrees.
Their location in Fort Pierce opened within the last year.
Workers at the nonprofit said they learned quickly how much they were needed.
Many of the youth at Project Lift are referred by court order or by schools, and some teens were already on the verge of joining gangs and facing charges for violent crimes.
"Just like the shooting we had unfortunately on Monday, still it's hard to talk about," said Project Lift Director of Operations Vic Miller. "But my teens, they would have been no doubt involved in that. But after that shooting they all showed back up on Tuesday safe, so to me that was big because the teens here, that's where they're from, those exact same streets."
The teens in this program leave it with either a guaranteed job or to go to college.
The St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office has set up a dedicated hotline specifically to gather leads in the case. Call 772-462-3230 or Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers at 800-273-8477.