CHICAGO (WLS) -- As part of an anti-violence campaign on the far South Side, Chicago CRED helped 46 men pass the GED test to receive their high school diplomas Thursday. Most of those men are formerly incarcerated, and many have spent over a decade in prison.
"Chicago CRED's focus on education recognizes that these men need a path toward the legal economy, and that starts with a high school degree," said Peter Cunningham, a spokesperson for Chicago CRED.
Kevin McMurtry dropped out of high school when he was 17 and spent years of his life involved in gang violence in his neighborhood of Roseland. He was one of the 46 people to receive their diplomas yesterday, and he's already enrolled in college classes for a business degree.
"I wish my granddaddy was here," McMurtry said. "He's been gone since 2019. His favorite words was, 'Life goes on. No matter what, life goes on.'"
With the support of his grandparents, fiance, and CRED-provided life coaches, McMurtry is currently trying to build out his lawn care business.
"Kevin is a excellent father," said Robert Hill, one of McMurtry's life coaches. "He's been a great guy to have on your caseload."
Every graduate from the CRED program is looking toward a new path. Peter Cunningham said it's all part of the organizations efforts to decrease violence in Chicago.
"We see gun violence as a public health crisis just like COVID," Cunningham said. "With COVID, everybody needs a vaccine. And with gun violence, everybody needs a chance. A real chance."