DC's Achievement Centers aim to combat youth violence

As the Metropolitan Police Department works to curb the spike in juvenile crime, one D.C. agency is working closely with the community to keep at-risk children safe. 

At the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services Achievement Centers, teens can stop by after school for free resources and even workshops. 

Destiny Brown recently graduated from Eastern High School. The 18-year-old started attending tattoo workshops at the center off Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Southeast back in August, and now she's working at Topp Dogg Tattoosz as an apprentice.

"The more I kept going to the class, the more I liked it," Brown said. "The second week, we started to get into how deep to get into skin and the type of needles and stuff like that."

"You see the difference in her confidence," said Daryl Moore-Stone, the owner of the tattoo shop.

Moore-Stone works closely with the city to provide opportunities for at-risk teens across the District.

Hillary Carins, the director of DYRS says it's about introducing teens to skills in a safe place.

It's also a way to help combat the youth violence in the city.

"A teenage girl got shot a week ago, my age," Brown said. It's an unfortunate reality she's becoming numb to.

In recent numbers shared with FOX 5, since the beginning of the year to Nov. 22, 84 juveniles have been shot in D.C. — 15 of them passed away.

"To be honest, you get used to it and some stuff that you can do to make it better is getting into programs like this," Brown said as she tattooed initials on a customer's leg.

"Every young person is capable of succeeding in the way that she has," Carins said.

There are two Achievement Centers located in the city: one on H Street in Northwest and the other is located on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Southeast. For more information on D.C.'s Achievement Centers visit DC.gov.