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      Pilot program aims to keep Flint kids out of trouble

      The U.S. District Court announced a new program Monday designed to keep kids on the right side of the law.

      The Flint Youth Initiative (FYI) was conceived by U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith as a proactive and preventive way to keep students away from drugs and violence.

      The program will have two parts. The first will be a ??Lunch Buddy?? program that will pair a student with an adult from law enforcement or the justice system. They will meet once a week for a semester. The second part will involve group presentations on citizenship, the law and personal safety.

      Court officials say it's an investment they hope results in a reduction in crime.

      United States Attorney Barbara McQuade said, ??It's good kids who sometimes find themselves without hope, without opportunity, without a good mentor to help guild them to make smart decisions.??

      U.S. District Judge Goldsmith said, ??The longer the relationship and the more frequent the contact, the more likely it will be that that relationship will have a long-lasting and positive impact.??

      The Flint Youth Initiative will begin as a pilot program at Doyle-Ryder Elementary School, with the hope it will eventually expand district-wide.

      There will be a meeting Friday morning at 9 a.m. at the U.S. District Courthouse at 600 Church St. in Flint for anyone interested in becoming a mentor.