GARY, Ind. (WLS) -- After losing two brothers to gun violence, Aaliyah Stewart has been making a difference in her hometown of Gary.
"It was very hard losing both of my brothers. I really had to trust God and know that God has a plan for me," said Stewart, who founded the anti-violence nonprofit, ASW Foundation Inc., when she was a freshman in high school.
Stewart recently purchased a building in the 3800 block of Broadway that will be the future home of the I AM THEM Hope Youth Center.
"To be 20 years old to own a building to house something positive for young people, a youth center on this side of town, on the east side of Gary, it's amazing for me," she said.
She closed on the property on May 17, which would have been Stewart's brother, Anthony White Jr.'s 30th birthday.
Stewart and a group of teens began cleaning out the building Monday to get it ready for renovations in July.
"It makes you feel good that you're helping," said Cayla Evans, a volunteer.
The teens said the youth center is going to have a positive impact in the community.
"It will allow kids to have something else to do besides stay outside and be in trouble," said Donyaeh Hopkins, a volunteer.
While removing items from the building, one of the teens discovered a painting depicting the crucifixion of Jesus. Stewart said it was confirmation that she's on the right path.
"Out of all the times I've been in the building when purchasing it, I never saw the picture," Stewart said. "It gave me more hope that this is the right facility for us."
Stewart said she she'll need to raise about $150,000 to transform the property into a youth center, which she hopes to open by the end of the year.