EVANSVILLE, INDIANA — Steven Kince Sr. sits in the living room watching the boys play video games. His wife is in the adjacent room, dancing with the girls. This is Kince’s home, but it has also become home to a group of children that Kince calls family.
“We call our group a troubled youth group. It doesn’t mean our kids cause trouble. It just means they could be in trouble,” Kince said. “We’re seeing teenagers right now shooting one another on an almost monthly basis. Watch the news. It’s all over the news.”
Kince knows about trouble after spending 20 years in a gang.
“I got shot when I was 12 years old. Got shot again when I was 13 years old. Got stabbed,” he said. “It didn’t dawn oni me at that time that what I was doing was something that just wasn’t going to fly.”
Kince said eventually he decided to leave his past life behind, moving from Detroit to Evansville.
“Things in my life got together and I found out that there was a God,” he said. “And He said, ‘There’s going to be a change. You’re going to have to make a change in your life.'”
Kince took that call literally, collecting coins in a jar for a purpose that he didn’t know at the time.
“I saved up enough damage and had enough to buy a few pizzas,” he said. “So I went to a park, bought some pizzas and I sat down and the first kids that came out grabbed a slice of pizza and I just started talking to kids about life.”
Now three years later, the pizza is still there, but his youth group continues to grow. Kince has even started working with law enforcement and other local groups to help his children.
“I hope they undertand that family is important and that you can go out and be a productive member of society by just good, old-fashioned hard work,” he said.
While it can get discouraging seeing crime continue to grow around him, he said it is rewarding to know he is making a small difference.
“It gives me chills because I know someone is going to go home today,” he said. “They’re not going to a funeral.”
And when all those small differences are added up, like his pennies and dimes, they can create a very large change.