Bronx resident provides safe haven for neighborhood kids amid growing gang violence

THE BRONX — Santiago Mendez often spends his evenings picking up where day camp leaves off — setting up soccer games at his neighborhood park, in the Belmont section of the Bronx.

And with the Madison Boys and Girls club right across the street already closed for the day, Mendez says this kind of summer attraction is a necessary distraction for teenagers tempted by the dangerous allure of street gangs.

“I think it’s a good opportunity for the kids, to be out of the streets, so they...

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