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Project Outreach and Prevention rally at 21st Century Charter School (copy)

Dr. Michael McGee gives a presentation at the Students Against Violence Everywhere rally last month at 21st Century Charter School in Gary. The organization he founded, Project Outreach and Prevention on Violence, is hosting activities to mark National Youth Violence Prevention Week.

John J. Watkins, Times file photo

A Gary-based anti-violence group is marking National Youth Violence Prevention Week with a host of activities.

Project Outreach and Prevention on Violence plans to mark the week with a visit to the Lake County Juvenile Detention Center ons Sunday, a bus tour Monday and Wednesday, a pep rally Friday and a gala Saturday.

"We're in a place with a high incidence of violence, yet we don't even discuss it," said Michael McGee, founder of POP on Violence and an emergency room doctor in Gary. "We need to recognize that violence, especially youth violence, is an epidemic and a major public health problem. The first thing you have to do is bring awareness of it, and that's a main goal of the events we're doing."

Sunday, speakers will talk to youth at the Lake County Juvenile Detention Center about the dangers of violence. On Monday and Wednesday, a bus will bring speakers to schools around the Region to talk violence-prevention.

A pep rally will be held from noon to 2 p.m. Friday at the Genesis Convention Center with an "interactive Q & A" from 2-2:45. The Rev. Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church on Chicago's South Side is scheduled to be one of the speakers. Entertainment will be provided by the Jesse White Tumblers, the Kruciial Kreatiionz dance troupe and DJs from Hammond-based Power 92.3. Local law enforcement will be honored.

A weekend gala will take place Saturday at Gary's Marquette Park.

More information can be found at www.nwipop.org.

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Health reporter

Giles is the health reporter for The Times, covering the business of health care as well as consumer and public health. He previously wrote about health for the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World. He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.