LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A nationally known family and child behavior mediator wants to step into the fight to curb juvenile crime in Louisville.

Sean Collinson says the education gap is the difference between life and death for children in poor communities. The Los Angeles-based family behavior expert recently appeared on Dr. Phil. 

He's currently on a listening tour in Louisville, meeting with Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Marty Pollio, Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis and speaking directly with troubled moms and grandmothers in jail.

"The root of everything is awareness," he said. "You can bring programs, you can do all of these things, but if these kids don't have awareness that they exist -- that these people are for them, rooting for them, championing for them ... I think awareness has to be first."

Collinson said children need to be encouraged not to quit.

"We are building more correctional facilities than we are doing what we need to do for the infrastructure for schools," he said, adding that children in poor communities need to "know about education, and what it can do for you in schools, and why it is a better alternative versus a criminology degree from being inside, or just being on the street."

Collinson is a former hip hop artist whose father was shot to death while he was child. He and his teen mother were raised in a financially challenged neighborhood by his grandmother.

"I had a thousand excuses to quit, and I only needed one to keep going," he said. "And that's what we have to impress upon these children today."

Now he's working with Master P, community activist Christopher 2X and the "Ballin for a Cause" effort.

"It's those younger kids that got shot out here that don't deserve this that should be in school," Master P said. "We want to make sure they understand their path should be education and break that stereotype."

Last year 18 people under the age of 18 were charged with murder in Louisville, according to police. That's up from seven the year before.

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