(CBS) – Stops violence. Creates jobs. Saves lives. Big claims from a lawn care company.
A flyer with that sales pitch caught the attention of CBS 2’s Audrina Bigos.
The grass isn’t greener on the other side. But in North Lawndale, it’s not only greener, it’s less risky.
The jobs provided by the lawn care company helps weed out the other options.
“I’m an ex-offender doing what I need to do to prevent the next offender,” says Mark Carter.
He and his crew of men are taking boys and young men off the streets by training them and putting them to work.
“We don’t care what that trouble was. We’re here to pick them up,” Carter says.
It’s not glamorous. But it’s better than gang-banging. Justin Washington says he got out of jail last month.
“I’m 26 now. I started getting locked up at 12,” he says.
A lack of jobs is the root cause of the violence in Chicago, Carter says.
“Quite naturally, you’re going to have murder and upheaval if you don’t give the people something to do,” he says.
It’s not just lawn care. These boys and young men are trained in other skills like home renovation, construction and tree removal.