BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Pastor James Giles said there isn’t one thing we can point the finger at when it comes to violence among youth, but he has ideas for solutions.

Pastor Giles said in his experience when kids have a mentor or someone to talk to it can help steer them away from the right path and onto the right one.

Pastor Giles has been working with Buffalo youth for 26 years.

He said he’s seeing a trend of younger people getting more violent and carrying weapons.

“Many of them are carrying guns because of peer pressure, because of intimidation, because they’re afraid because they’ve been threatened because they want to be accepted, all those reasons and factors are coming into play with children that have already been traumatized by their living situations,” he said.

He said that trauma runs deep and without someone to talk to it turns into anger, which can turn into violence.

“The thing that has worked is this mentoring thing where you have now someone that comes into a person’s life and demonstrates that they actually care.”

Pastor Giles said there are many talented community groups willing to help but it’ll cost the district money to do it right.

“We tend to relate to them much more and they’re a lot more comfortable saying something to us and we’re not necessarily representing the agency or entity they have a beef with,” Giles said of the community members mentoring the youth. “We just wanna come alongside the administration to help solve this problem, but we have to pay for the cost we spend doing this because we can’t do it just a shot here, a shot there. This is a pervasive problem within the school system and this requires time energy and commitment.”

Pastor Giles said the Buffalo Public Schools have many great administrators and teachers but they don’t have the resources to address this problem.

He said the community groups are ready to respond, the district just needs to respond back.

Kayla Green is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.