ST. CLOUD -- Four months ago AJ was shot, but today (Saturday) he was standing and speaking to families at South Junior High.

His message to the community was stop the violence, but today was not the first time the topic came up.

Three years ago John Smith, who sits on the Chair of the Executive Committee for Promise Neighborhood, along with others came together to create the event Stop the Violence.

It's been three years and there has been a decrease in the violence, but they say the work is still not done. Smith says by the community coming together, his hope is that more work can be developed.

"We intentionally want to bring people together to have informal conversations, and maybe even start to talk about things, we might be able to do together in the future says, Smith".

The future though is not something many youths will see if the violence doesn't stop. So Smith hopes stories like AJ's, remind others that one life lost, is one too many.

As families gathered in line to grab food and drinks, Bruce Mohs, couldn't help but smile. Mohs is on the committee board and has been attending Stop the Violence since the event was first created three years ago. He says he has definitely seen a shift in the event, but a good shift.

"Every single one of us has a collective impact and an important role to play. It makes me feel this community is understanding its responsibility and becoming more like a family says, Mohs".

The event featured activities for kids and families such as basketball, food , and had representatives from the St. Cloud community.

Youth playing Basketball, Rebecca David, WJON
Youth playing Basketball, Rebecca David, WJON

To learn more about Promise Neighborhood's efforts to Stop the Violence, check out their Facebook page.