Amsterdam community turns tragedy into prosperity
The city of Amsterdam is continuing to try to bring good out of bad. As our Maria Valvanis explains, recent tragedy, will soon be remembered as the push the city needed, to gain prosperity.
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AMSTERDAM, N.Y. -- "Main goal is to change the entire city, sounds big, but in order to do big, you have to think big," said Calvin Martin, Paul Damphier's cousin.
It's been two weeks since Calvin Martin learned his sixteen year old cousin Paul Damphier, and thirteen year old Jonathan DeJesus, had been killed. Two of their former classmates, sixteen year old Anthony Brasmiester, and fifteen-year-old Matthew Phelps have been charged with the murders.
Now, a combined committee of family, friends, and Lt. Richardson, of the Amsterdam Police Department, wants to ensure, the city offers teens enough safe activities, to bring crime rates down.
"These kids are falling through the cracks, we have to do something," said Lt. Richardson.
"We're trying to come up with a bunch of different events, and ideas, to reach out to these kids, and try to get them involved and come together," said Casey Martin, Damphier's cousin.
The committee is going door to door, asking for donations, to start a city youth group.
They want to offer sporting tournaments, paint the city days, and any other event teens show interest in, all for free.
"I think that they're starting to see the city's starting to reach out a little bit, things are lingering, people are starting to get involved, and the kids respect that, and the kids are going to react to that," said Calvin Martin.
The tragedy has also sparked an initiative to get more residents involved in neighborhood watch programs. Something members say, can only help prevent something like this, from happening again."
"It's just going to bring attention to the problem areas, and when you have attention paid to the problems, they tend to get lesser," said Timothy Becker, a neighborhood watch member.
Lt. Richardson tells us, the success of both groups will be based of off good communication.
"If we can bring children together for a positive reason, and we can get neighbors out of their house and get to know each other I think you tear down these walls ,these prejudices, that we know exist, but don't necessarily get tackled," said Lt. Richardson.
"He's happy, I know if he were here, he'd be one of the first kids to show up," said Casey Martin.
If you would like to get involved or donate to either group, please contact Lt. Richardson at the Amsterdam Police Department at (518) 842-1100.