These days, the news is filled with horrible stories of death and war. But the stories that stick out the most in my mind are the stories of youth violence. Partly because they are horrible and senseless, but mainly because they can be prevented. Each day, more and more of our youth are getting caught up in a life of crime. However, what most of us fail to realize is that we all have the ability to prevent this youth violence from happening. Whether you’re a teacher, a family member, an author like me, or simply someone in the community, we all have the ability to become role models to these kids and provide them with a positive example. When I wrote my book, I knew I wanted to use it to show kids that there are more options available to them than a life of gangs, drugs, and violence. I have been blessed to hear firsthand from these kids about how the book has changed their lives. But more kids still need a push in the right direction. So in this new year, make it a goal to become a positive influence. Become a better teacher. Coordinate an after school activity. Spend more time with your children. If more people were to do something in their own community, the news wouldn’t be so saturated with stories of senseless youth violence.