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Shelby Co. agency addresses violence after 2 kids shot within 13 hours

One agency is rising to the occasion to help those affected by gun violence and prevent more shootings.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Gun violence affects a lot more people than just the victims and when children are involved it's a whole new challenge.

In a week that saw two Memphis children shot in separate incidents and just 13 hours apart, one agency is rising to the occasion to help those affected as well as prevent more shootings.

“We hear from survivors all the time, ‘I didn’t know who to call, ‘I didn’t know who to talk to, 'I felt like I was burdening my own family,” said Sandy Bromley, the director of the Shelby County Crime Victims & Rape Crisis Center.

A phone call can help start the healing process.  

For five years, Bromley has helped those traumatized by gun violence.

“Everyone knows to call 911, law enforcement comes out, they leave, and crime victims often say, ‘Now what?’ We’re essentially the now what," she said.

A 5-year-old boy was shot Friday near a McDonald's on Poplar Avenue.

RELATED: 5-year-old boy in critical condition after shooting at Memphis McDonald's

Only 13 hours earlier, a 16-year-old was shot at a gas station in South Memphis.

RELATED: Teen in critical condition after Memphis shooting

While both are expected to be OK, Bromley said that doesn’t mean their families can automatically put their lives back together.  

“With record rates of homicides and record rates of kids being killed these last few years, we really have to start talking about how trauma is impacting us and impacting us deeply as a community,” she said.  

Bromley said it took years for gun violence in Memphis to climb so high, so it will take at least just as long for it to start going down. Things like a community walk scheduled for next weekend can be part of the solution.

"The intent is really not about the walk, it's about bringing out the community," explained Bromley. "So they can get with one another they can learn one another. We can connect, and we can start healing that trauma. We can start communicating more effectively."  

The director said organizations like hers can provide resources to keep people from resorting to violence. 

“It’s going to take every one of us coming together. One acknowledges the trauma and the hurt that has been experienced already. Validation can be really powerful towards healing. Then two, figuring out what is your role in the solution.”  

The crisis center's services are free to the public. The next Pledge to Protect 901 is July 30. 

If you need help healing from violent trauma, you can call 901-222-3950.

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