PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — In the midst of gun violence across the United States and right here in Peoria, a group of recently graduated high schoolers is working to make a difference with a new book.

Five, 18-year-old girls are enrolled in the Woodruff Career and Technical Center’s Criminal Justice Cohort, where they have been brainstorming, writing, and editing for the past year.

“There are a lot of kids our age that are just kind, they shouldn’t die, especially younger kids,” said an 18-year-old graduate from Peoria High School, Ariadna Carachuri, as she wiped tears from her eyes.

They’re writing a book called “Legend for my Brother” and it’s targeted toward helping kids and teens deal with gun violence and how to cope with loss.

Pencils in hand, they are hoping to captivate the lives of those dealing with gun violence and make a change.

The girls said the idea started with a class project but took it a step further, and before they knew it, they were writing a 70-page novel. The idea of gun violence in Peoria hits home for 18-year-old Richwoods High School graduate, Dina Brown.

“Some people that we know personally have died from gun violence. Kanye Stowers that he died a couple of months ago from gun violence, so he is one of the reasons that we are writing a book,” said Brown.

Stowers was shot and killed at a house party in April. 18-year-old Peoria High School Graduate, Tylynn Johnson, said their hope is to make a change, and it starts with storytelling.

“This is just the sad reality of our generation that our generation has been going through for so long, and maybe we can help wake people up,” said Johnson.

18-year-old Richwoods High School graduate, Taya Bates, said it’s a problem that doesn’t just go away.

“There are just so many kids 21 and under losing their lives to gun violence. Kids that have futures in front of them, you never know what that person could’ve become in that life,” said Bates.

They hope to have the book completed by July.

“This is our home, this is where we grew up, and we want to make it better for the people that come after us,” said

The book will be handed out by the Peoria Community Against Gun Violence and by OSF Strive to local teenagers. Come July, the girls said they will have a book signing at the Peoria Women’s Club.