ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — This Saturday was the last Saturday before school starts for Rockford Public Schools 205, so kids and families went out for a back to school bash to get prepared.

The event was held by Comprehensive Community Solutions in Rockford. There was free food, school supplies, hair cuts, clothing and other resources. It was part of a violence prevention strategy to raise awareness of after-school programming.

Organizers wanted to connect people to the “Alpha Program” that works to keep youth away from violence outside of school. The staff at CCS is passionate about giving back to the youth, because they had people who did that and were invested in them.

“I think most of us can attest that it really takes a village to raise young people. I’m a father myself, so I understand that my son is going to be influenced by other people in the community,” said Joshua Patterson, director of community programs for Comprehensive Community Solutions. “So, it’s just about everybody doing their part and being a part of that village.”

Two messengers who lived life on the streets when they were young were at the even, speaking with kids and spreading the violence prevention strategy.