A three-day recruiting and training drive is being launched this afternoon in Cedar Rapids for a new activist group that aims to reduce youth violence. Isaiah Jones is president of the city’s fledgling chapter of MAD DADS, the first chapter in Iowa.

“MAD DADS stands for Men Against Drugs, Dads Against Destruction and Social Disorder.” Jones says their goal will be to steer teenagers and young adults away from paths that could lead to a life of crime. Instead, Jones says he wants to bring them positive self-esteem, stronger family units and re-establish a sense of community.

“I know they can do better,” Jones says. “A lot of them are out here fighting and they’re swinging bats and threatening with guns, saying they’re going to hurt each other. I just feel that someone needs to step up and MAD DADS is just a good sponsor.” Events in Cedar Rapids through Saturday will include an appearance by Eddie Staton from Florida, president of the MAD DADS national organization. Jones says the new group is open to all.

Jones says, “I hope it’ll be the whole community if I had my way, but right now, I see at least about two- or three-hundred.” Events include recruiting and training of volunteers, neighborhood patrols in the Wellington Heights and Mountview areas of Cedar Rapids on Friday night, and a barbeque grill-out for neighborhood interaction on Saturday night.