ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — More was learned on Monday night about the desperate attempt to save lives in the Rockford community.

Domestic violence is the number one police call in the City of Rockford, and city leaders are now turning their focus to the communities children.

“We want to start from the second we can engage in those kids, in a preschool environment, all the way through,” said Jennifer Cacciapaglia, manager of the Mayor’s Office of Domestic and Community Violence Prevention. “For the ones being arrested, what strategies can we deploy within our juvenile justice contacts that will allow them to be diverted to restorative programs.”

One of these attempts starts at school, and the new program is a simple as waving to a child.

“There is something about it that tears you down because you don’t know what the students are walking into,” said volunteer Whitne Simpson.

Simpson said that it is bittersweet when she sees the buses pull away from RESA Middle School at the end of the day. Her job is to make sure that the kids get on, but her bigger mission is to make sure they come back.

“We don’t know if we get off the bus if there will be a drive by, if they even make it back to school the next day,” Simpson said.

Simpson is one of many people in the community that is making their presence known as kids leave for the day. A simple initiative making a major impact by Rockford’s Mayor’s Office, volunteers and community members, standing outside as kids unknowingly develop a bond with adults, pointing them to their bus and navigating them in life.

“To see students smile and think, ‘oh man.. maybe she does care about me,’ and make sure we get to the bus safely,” Simpson said.

The program is so new that organizers are still working on a name, but the title is not as important as its reach. The group consistently meets at five middle and high schools before and after school so far, and that number is expected to grow alongside student confidence.

“They look forward to talking to someone, they look forward to positive affirmations,” Simpson said. “We are making ourselves known.”

“We’re smiling as we can through our masks right now,” added volunteer Stephen Bowie.

Bowie volunteers at Guilford High School, and he said that he just wants kids to know he cares.

“I just want to convey goodness and hope to them,” he said.

Simpson said that her job is so much more than pointing kids to the right spot. She is providing direction beyond the bus doors.

“Your stomach drops when you get in the car and think, ‘I hope those babies make it home safely,'” she said.

Principles said that they have already noticed a difference in having the help with pickup and drop-off.