PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Student-athletes at Quest Charter Academy in Peoria are more than just the sports they play. They’re coming together to make a difference. 

“These 86 kids along with others, we are promising that we are not going to use violence to solve our problems,” said Elmer Dickerson, the athletic director at Quest Charter Academy.

“Night Against Violence” is an initiative spearheaded by Dickerson. Middle and high school basketball players and cheerleaders, along with police officers and community leaders have signed a promise to solve their differences in non-violent ways.

“It means a lot to us and my team really,” said Tre Greenwood, a senior and basketball player.

“I think it means a lot really to Coach Dickerson to see everybody actually cares about what he’s trying to do here.”

Tre greenwood

Greenwood is one who has been impacted by violent crime. His father was recently shot and killed. When Dickerson saw Greenwood and the team’s devastation afterward, he came up with the idea for “Night Against Violence”. 

“He really did do this for me and I really, I really, I really appreciate it like a lot. And he probably doesn’t even know that. But I’m glad he’s doing this for me because it really brings–I really hope it makes a difference for my dad and like other people along the way in the future,” said Greenwood.

Dickerson is partnering with the Peoria Police Department in the initiative to curb violent crime. Officers escorted Quest Charter Academy student-athletes to their basketball games at Bradley University Tuesday night. 

“It’s going to take a community. Here’s another step toward that.”

eric echevarria

Echevarria said, “When they see us here as well, we start to create these relationships that I continue to talk about that we need to create in Peoria with them.”

During Tuesday night’s varsity basketball game, a representative from Quest Charter Academy presented the non-violence promise with 100 signatures.