Hartford Prepares for Grand Opening of Brother Carl Hardrick Institute

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A new community resource is set to open inside the capitol city on Saturday. It's named after Hartford gun violence prevention advocate Carl Hardrick and hopes to keep kids on the right track.

Hardrick has made it his personal mission to reach young people and steer them in the right direction. Hardrick is the one who tries to show up before any bullets or fists start to fly.

"I have to do something because I see something that's going to be ugly, I see a lot of young people dying," Hardrick said.

For decades, Hardrick has worked with rival gangs sometimes even getting in the middle to see both sides squash beefs. Gun violence has even made it into his home.

"I lost my grandson and I never thought it would happen," Hardrick said. "It wasn't that he wasn't raised right, I was on top of him."

Kelvin Lovejoy (L) and Carl Hardrick (R) walking into the Brother Carl Hardrick Institute inside the Wilson-Gray YMCA.

Hardrick's life-long commitment has picked up support and led to the Brother Carl Hardrick Institute for Violence Prevention set to open Saturday.

The aim is to reach the youth at an early age and teach the community about violence prevention while increasing the number of intervention specialists.

Kelvin Lovejoy is one of the people who benefited from Hardrick's mentorship and decided to get in the business of helping kids.

"We have to teach our young people not only to do the right thing and go in the right direction, but to be assets in their community," Lovejoy said. "To see the Institute go through the process and actually manifest as a real tangible thing for our community, and to see another asset in our community, it's really a good thing."

The two are hoping to see more after school programs and community events like the Celebration Block Party on Saturday in the future.

Brother Carl Hardrick (R) inside the Brother Carl Hardrick Institute at the Wilson-Gray YMCA.

"I grew up with similar events where everyone knew each other," Hardrick said. "Families that moved from Bellevue Square, moved to Stowe Village, that moved to Albany Avenue came to Bellevue Community Day and it was huge and everyone was able to get to know one another."

The block party is set to kickoff on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of the YMCA.

There's a traffic advisory: Albany Avenue will be closed from Garden to William Street between 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

There will also be the grand opening of the Brother Carl Hardrick Institute. There is set to be motivational Zumba dance to help relieve stress, food trucks, Ice Cream for A Dream To Follow Their Dreams and Yoga Techniques to help with trauma.

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