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Hospital-based program working with at risk youth

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OMAHA, Ne (FOX42KPTM) - A new hospital-based program is helping troubled youth get back on track. Organizers want to encourage them to abandon a life on the streets and to keep them out of emergency rooms. This is now happening on the Nebraska Medicine campus and for some people the program is working.

"It made me think a lot," said Ismael Aguilar, who is involved in the program.

When Aguilar lost someone he knew to gun violence, he decided it was time to turn his life around.

"Who I hang around with and what I do is serious. It's not a joke."

The new program, called Dusk To Dawn, is helping him.

"I've learned that going through this program is about looking at the long run."

"For me, it's a personal issue," added Stewart Giddings.

Giddings is an operations director for YouTurn. It's an organization that works to end violence and is a partner of the Dusk to Dawn program. Giddings was once a gang member in New York City. He can relate to at risk youth.

""I understand the struggle and I know where they come from," said Giddings. "I truly believe this is something we can change."

"In Omaha, I feel like we're seeing younger and younger victims and that's hard," added Dr. Charity Evans, a trauma surgeon.

Dr. Evans works at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She's proud of the new program and she expects lives to be saved because of it.

"It feels like finally we have a way to be proactive."

Dusk to Dawn recently received a scholars grant worth more than $300,000. It will help them significantly expand the program. It was awarded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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