Miami Dade Police

Gun Violence Victims Tour Zoo Miami As Part of MDPD Youth Outreach Program

NBC Universal, Inc.

Thirty teenagers who have been impacted by gun violence got a chance to visit Zoo Miami on Wednesday. 

The teens, who have either been victims of gun violence or lived with victims of gun violence, visited with Zoo Miami staff members as part of the Miami-Dade Police Department's Youth Outreach Program.

Officer Jose Medina said the goal of the program is to introduce more educational programs to hopefully reduce gun violence in the community.

Fourteen-year-old Louis Paul was affected by indirect violence when his relative was shot.

He told NBC 6 he felt scared when his cousin got shot in the leg, but was thankful the damage wasn't worse.

As part of the Zoo Miami visit, the teens got to meet with staff members who do more than take care of the animals.

The teens got to meet Chelsea the sloth, for example, as well as the head of the gardening department that takes care of the grounds and the head of the trades department, the people that maintain the zoo.

The department also works with Big Brothers, Big Sisters during the school year to help out the kids.

The Zoo Miami Foundation sponsors some of the teens too. 

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