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KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -
A local teen is working to keep other teens off the street and out of trouble. He knows all too well what violence can do to a young life.
Markqus Alder has always loved to dance, but three years ago, a personal tragedy inspired the 19-year-old to turn his passion into a way to help others.
"We dance for him. Our movements are for him. We keep him alive when we do this," said Alder of his best friend who was victim of gang violence.
Determined not to let his friend's death be in vain, Alder decided he had to do something to keep other teens from experiencing the pain he went through.
"We just want kids to have something better to do, give them another opportunity. I grew up and all that was in my face was gangs this gangs that," Alder said.
So, he started his own dance crew, hoping to give teens something productive to do after school.
It started out slowly, but soon nearly a dozen people joined in on his weekly practices.
Alder remains humble, saying he is just doing what he loves.
But mothers, like Stephanie Maddux, know what a large impact he has had on the community.
"Absolutely, it saved his life. Trey was close to dying, and Markqus is my angel," Maddux said.
Maddux said her son had a devastating drug addiction that nearly killed him.
From rehabilitation to counseling, she tried everything to help break the addiction. But Maddux said it wasn't until her son decided to give the dance group a try that he began turning the corner.
"What they thrive off of and learn from is their peers. They will listen to each other. When you get kids like this and take you for what you are and help build you back up get you some self esteem, absolutely I think it helped him better than rehab," she said.
Now, her son is drug free and holding down a steady job.
Alder hopes this is just the first in a long line of success stories because with each teen he helps, he said he keeps his friend's memory alive.
"I think he honestly would be proud of me," Alder said.
The dance group gets together every Sunday afternoon from 2-5 p.m. at Harmon High School. If you want to join, just show up.
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