MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – As violent crime soars in Minneapolis, some leaders are taking a different angle at preventing crime from happening in the first place.

A group of girls is taking on the fight against violence with grit and grace.

“We all live in North Minneapolis which they call ‘the streets’,” said eighth grader Damiyah Willis.

“A lot of people have died to gun violence the past year, I’ve seen a lot, I’ve heard a lot,” added Ta-Naya Alexander-Cohen, who is in seventh grade.

“I don’t like hearing gunshots, I don’t like seeing people dying. It’s just not a good feeling to have, and I just want to stop the gun violence,” said Promise Cox, who is also in seventh grade.

It’s why they’ve gathered together at Violence Prevention Camp.

“Women are the victims of violence a lot, and in the past two years, a lot of the shootings have been happening in Minneapolis and Hennepin County have been females,” said Jalilia Abdul-Brown, leader of the Girls Violence Prevention Camp.

Abdul-Brown, a trauma therapist, and other female leaders run this new summer program with the help of HCMC and the office of violence prevention.

“We meet the women where they are with their trauma, the girls, we offer the tutoring, the job skills, the life skills,” she said.

Another big goal of the camp is to take the girls places like the conservatory so they can get a fresh perspective.

“My goal with this is to help young girls and women overcome violence and trauma, the same way a disease can be healed, violence and trauma can be healed, in women and girls,” said Abdul-Brown.

The girls all have goals: Willis dreams of being lawyers for criminal justice. Alexander-Cohen wants to go to the Olympics or WNBA. If that doesn’t work out, she says she’ll be a pediatrician.

The Violence Prevention Camp filled up immediately this year.

They are hoping to expand, if you’d like to support the girls, click here.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield