Orange County

Orange County working on plan to help keep teens out of trouble

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A grassroots group in Orlando is now part of the push to stop young people from picking up guns.

Orange County officials said Monday that they’re working with the group Credible Messengers on a plan, as Central Florida deals with a rise in shootings in recent weeks, several of which included teenagers.


Credible Messengers is a group made up of people who have spent time behind bars for the same exact crimes kids in Orlando are getting into.

Ruben Saldaña, a former gang member who now works with the group, says it’s a problem with a solution.

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He said the group works to help kids have a safe place to go and things to do.

Orange County officials said they are working on a contract to give Credible Messengers up to $85,000, but it has not yet been approved.

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Saldaña said they want to take the money and use it for a few things, including a safe place for kids to go that’s open more than just 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“A safe spot would be a place where it’s well-known by the thugs and hustlers in the neighborhood that it’s a zero; you don’t come there with the foolishness,” he said.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson,

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.