‘Dream Center’ pushes GR neighborhood toward positive interactions after violence breaks out

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- A Grand Rapids neighborhood trying to inspire positive community interaction keeps running into setbacks. The neighborhood near Lafayette Avenue threw a block party this past weekend, which has been a tradition for the past 9 years. However, a shooting right after the block party had three people injured including a 19-year-old pregnant woman.

Tuesday night there was frustration for a different organization, Dream Center, trying to give kids and teens in the area some fun activities to do to keep them out of trouble.

The Dream Center in Grand Rapids is an organization the goes to different neighborhoods to build positive relationships with kids and teenagers. The organization usually heads to the area of Franklin and Lafayette. They go there every Tuesday in the summer.

Tuesday a scuffle broke out. The dream Center says something like that shows all the more reason why they need to keep coming back to the neighborhood and building positive relationships.

The incident started with a basketball game filled with friendly competition according to Jeff Osterhouse with the Dream Center. Osterhouse says anywhere between 100 to 200 kids come out every week to participate in games. Tuesday’s competition had some tempers rising on the basketball courts.

“When grown men get together sometimes things happen, and tempers flared and there was some mini fights that were breaking out on the basketball court as groups started to form into different mob type patterns,” said Osterhouse.

Osterhouse says the problems started with some older men that were between 20 to 30 years-old that came to hit the courts too. A scuffle began to break out recorded on some cell phone video that Fox 17 received.

“We [Dream Center] decided to call the police and we just knew that things were going to escalate,” said Osterhouse.

Osterhouse says one officer was first to arrive among 50 plus people who were engaged in a fight.

“I was concerned for the police officer. He got out of his car and didn’t have any backup. It’s a terrifying situation.”

Dream Center said they were thankful for the Grand Rapids Police swift response. Osterhouse says between the shooting this past Saturday after a block party for the community, and their pick-up basketball game Tuesday night, more positive events are the dose of medicine this neighborhood needs.

“We can’t let a few of the bad things outweigh the good that’s happening in the community.”

No one was arrested from Tuesday nights scuffle.

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