RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Angelica Hawkins started a dance group called "Team Fierce" three months ago in order to give children an "outlet" and keep them out of trouble.
The competitive dance team practices three days a week and dances to a variety of styles including hip-hop, lyrical and contemporary.
The girls and boys who are involved are ages 5 to 18.
"I started team fierce because I wanted the kids to be able to have an outlet," Hawkins said.
The dance team is an outlet for 14-year-old Shaniya Hawkins, who is now the team captain. Hawkins said her grades have improved since joining the dance team, and she is staying out of trouble.
"I have a better attitude at school," Hawkins said. "I stay out of trouble."
Trouble has been on the rise in Richmond as crime skyrockets throughout the region. According to the Richmond Police Department, crime went up 17 percent from 2015 to 2016, and 808 firearms were seized by the Richmond Police Department in 2016.
The city's homicide rate also reached a 10-year high in 2016 with 61 deaths, compared to 41 in the prior year.
It's a trajectory in the city that Hawkins hopes to curtail by teaching good morals and discipline to her students at an early age.
"If you are too focused on one thing, you don't have time to focus on what's going on down the street or what other people are doing, what they shouldn't be
doing," Hawkins said.
The team's first competition is Saturday, Feb. 11.
If you want to join Team Fierce you can contact Hawkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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