Tuesday, December 18, 2012

M.S. 8 Comes to Visit!


Last week, 40 sixth graders from M.S. 8 Brooklyn visited the YOasis (the YO S.O.S. workshop space) as part of their unit, "Can art change the world?" With one class on Thursday and one class on Friday, the YO S.O.S. staff led workshops in which we discussed murals that the students had seen in Crown Heights, drawings and paintings that other Brooklyn youth made last year as part of our annual Arts to End Violence contest, and how art can play a part in changing minds and reducing violence.



The middle schoolers were enthusiastic about their unit. They were eager to tell us what they were learning! They had tons of opinions about art and how it can be used to make Brooklyn--and the world--a safer place.


One student offered, "Maybe we can tell people who are about to use violence to express themselves through art instead.  It could help them calm down and make different choices."  At the end of each workshop, the students got in on the action themselves, designing and drawing anti-violence art. Their exciting, inspiring, and beautiful posters now fill the YOasis, as their energy and passion did last week.



  And we hope that all of them, plus many, many more Brooklyn students, submit to Arts to End Violence in the spring! (Stay tuned-- more information on that coming in the next few months!) YOUTH POWER!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Talking to Children About Violence


From The Center for School Mental Health.

Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers

High profile acts of violence, particularly in schools, can confuse and frighten children who may feel in danger or worry that their friends or loved-ones are at risk. They will look to adults for information and guidance on how to react. Parents and school personnel can help children feel safe by establishing a sense of normalcy and security and talking with them about their fears.

1. Reassure children that they are safe. Emphasize that schools are very safe. Validate their feelings. Explain that all feelings are okay when a tragedy occurs. Let children talk about their feelings, help put them into perspective, and assist them in expressing these feelings appropriately.

2. Make time to talk. Let their questions be your guide as to how much information to provide. Be patient. Children and youth do not always talk about their feelings readily. Watch for clues that they may want to talk, such as hovering around while you do the dishes or yard work. Some children prefer writing, playing music, or doing an art project as an outlet. Young children may need concrete activities (such as drawing, looking at picture books, or imaginative play) to help them identify and express their feelings.

3. Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate.
* Early elementary school children need brief, simple information that should be balanced with reassurances that their school and homes are safe and that adults are there to protect them. Give simple examples of school safety like reminding children about exterior doors being locked, child monitoring efforts on the playground, and emergency drills practiced during the school day.

* Upper elementary and early middle school children will be more vocal in asking questions about whether they truly are safe and what is being done at their school. They may need assistance separating reality from fantasy. Discuss efforts of school and community leaders to provide safe schools.

* Upper middle school and high school students will have strong and varying opinions about the causes of violence in schools and society. They will share concrete suggestions about how to make school safer and how to prevent tragedies in society. Emphasize the role that students have in maintaining safe schools by following school safety guidelines (e.g. not providing building access to strangers, reporting strangers on campus, reporting threats to the school safety made by students or community members, etc.), communicating any personal safety concerns to
school administrators, and accessing support for emotional needs.

4. Review safety procedures. This should include procedures and safeguards at school and at home. Help children identify at least one adult at school and in the community to whom they go if they feel threatened or at risk.

5. Observe children's emotional state. Some children may not express their concerns verbally. Changes in behavior, appetite, and sleep patterns can indicate a child's level of anxiety or discomfort. In most children, these symptoms will ease with reassurance and time. However, some children may be at risk for more intense reactions. Children who have had a past traumatic experience or personal loss, suffer from depression or other mental illness, or with special needs may be at greater risk for severe reactions than others. Seek the help of mental health professional if you are at all concerned.

6. Limit television viewing of these events. Limit television viewing and be aware if the television is on in common areas. Developmentally inappropriate information can cause anxiety or confusion, particularly in young children. Adults also need to be mindful of the content of conversations that they have with each other in front of children,
even teenagers, and limit their exposure to vengeful, hateful, and angry comments that might be misunderstood.

7. Maintain a normal routine. Keeping to a regular schedule can be reassuring and promote physical health. Ensure that children get plenty of sleep, regular meals, and exercise. Encourage them to keep up with their schoolwork and extracurricular activities but don't push them if they seem overwhelmed.

Suggested Points to Emphasize When Talking to Children

* Schools are safe places. School staff work with parents and public safety providers (local police and fire departments, emergency responders, hospitals, etc.) to keep you safe.

* The school building is safe because ... (cite specific school procedures).

* We all play a role in the school safety. Be observant and let an adult know if you see or hear something that makes you feel uncomfortable, nervous or frightened.

* There is a difference between reporting, tattling or gossiping. You can provide important information that may prevent harm either directly or anonymously by telling a trusted adult what you know or hear.

* Don't dwell on the worst possibilities. Although there is no absolute guarantee that something bad will never happen, it is important to understand the difference between the possibility of something happening and the probability that it will affect our school.

* Senseless violence is hard for everyone to understand. Doing things that you enjoy, sticking to your normal routine, and being with friends and family help make us feel better and keep us from worrying about the event.

* Sometimes people do bad things that hurt others. They may be unable to handle their anger, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or suffering from mental illness. Adults (parents, teachers, police officers, doctors, faith leaders) work very hard to get those people help and keep them from hurting others. It is important for all of us to know how to get help if we feel really upset or angry and to stay away from drugs and alcohol.

* Stay away from guns and other weapons. Tell an adult if you know someone has a gun. Access to guns is one of the leading risk factors for deadly violence.

* Violence is never a solution to personal problems. Students can be part of the positive solution by participating in anti-violence programs at school, learning conflict mediation skills, and seeking help from an adult if they or a peer is struggling with anger, depression, or other emotions they cannot control.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

One Day Without A Shooting

On Wednesday, November 28th the Daily News reported that a full day had come and gone without a shooting, stabbing, or slashing in New York City. This news (or non-news) was the paper's front-page story, and we discussed it in our workshop that day.

The fact that New York went about 36 hours without a violent crime (from late Sunday, November 25, to the morning of Tuesday, November 27) has since made news around the country and even abroad.

We discussed why this fact was so striking to people, as well as what was good and bad about it. The good, of course, includes the news itself—that no one in the city was a victim of a gun- or knife-related crime on Monday—as well as its relationship to broader trends: NYPD statistics show that this year will probably have the fewest murders in the city since 1960, and a 20-percent drop from last year.

The bad part is that a day without a violent crime was, until Monday, literally unheard of, and, when it happened, it was so surprising that it was front-page news. This story reminds us that every other day at least one person in our city is violently harmed. On top of that, the "streak" of 36 hours began and ended with shootings in Brooklyn. In reporting the good news of Monday's peace, we were reminded of the violence that happened on every other day.

We at YO S.O.S. are working to change these realities. We are trying to do our part. Hopefully we'll see a lot more days without violent crime—but we're not just hoping for that; we're working to make that the reality of tomorrow. We believe can youth can be the people that make that dream a reality.  YOUTH POWER!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Full Week For YO S.O.S.


Last  week was a very busy one for YO S.O.S. and our parent organization, the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center. On top of our normally scheduled workshops, the youth organizers had two special events this week.

On Tuesday, four youth organizers took part in a forum hosted at the Center for Court Innovation and facilitated by A+NYC, a organization that  brings people together to "envision an excellent and equitable public school system under the city’s next administration." The event sought to gain high school students' perspectives on education issues in the lead-up to the 2013 mayoral campaign.

Just a few of our suggestions for education policy changes in 2013 
With a crowded field of candidates that will produce a new mayor for the first time in 12 years, A+NYC saw a critical role for young New Yorkers in shaping the tone and substance of the education discussion in the campaign. Along with the youth organizers, about 15 members of the Center for Court Innovation's Youth JusticeBoard shared thoughts about their schools, the current state of education in the city, and what they would like to see mayoral candidates—and the winner, the city's next mayor—change about and bring to city schools.

The next day, ten youth organizers attended and helped run a very special event at the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center, the center's Appreciation Ceremony in Honor of Sharon "Ife" Charles. Ife Charles worked at CHCMC for 13 years, before leaving this summer when she was promoted to the Center for Court Innovation's Citywide Coordinator of Anti-violence Programs. The event honored Ife, CHCMC, and all of the center's community partners. The youth organizers greeted guests, helped make sure the event ran smoothly, and created a wonderful tribute to Ife, a paper tree onto which guests added leaves with personal messages of thanks. To read more about the event from Greg Berman, the Executive Director of the Center for Court Innovation, click here.



At the end of the week, we were able to rest up and reflect on a very exciting, full several days in which youth organizers played important roles, both inside and outside of YO S.O.S. We hope to build on these experiences, deepening our engagement with Crown Heights and the issue of gun violence, and expanding our reach to others in New York City. YOUTH POWER!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Away we go!

YO S.O.S. is up and running for 2012-2013

Though Hurricane Sandy interrupted us last month, we're now back to full speed and doing exciting work. We've finished recruiting for this year, and we're thrilled with our group of about 25 powerful and inspiring youth organizers!

Since the beginning of the school year, we've met twice weekly for workshops in which we've gotten to know each other, learned about Crown Heights, shared experiences and knowledge of how gun violence affects each of us, and begun developing organizing skills.


Look for the Youth Organizers' handiwork on Kingston Avenue in the coming weeks. In what's now becoming an annual tradition, the youth organizers will team up with the Kingston Avenue Merchants Association to decorate storefronts for the holiday season. We hope you enjoy the Kingston Winter Windows displays!



Monday, September 17, 2012

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Apply Now!

We are now accepting applications. Get yours in today! 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Our Day at Harlem Renaissance High School


"The first thing people do when they get into an a conflict is go for a gun" was the statement of an 18-year old girl at the Harlem Renaissance High School React to Film (RtF) program.

Marlon Peterson, program coordinator of Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets and former Save Our Streets Violence Interrupter and Radel Clause the YO S.O.S AmeriCorps program associate traveled from Crown Heights Brooklyn to Harlem to speak with the students in the RtF program. Marlon and Radel visited the Harlem school adjacent to the Frederick Douglas Houses to speak with the teens about the movie The Interrupters and realities of gun violence in their own lives.



Marlon shared his experiences as a Violence Interrupter in Brooklyn and the class delved into a lively discussion about whether violence truly acts like a disease, as the The Interrupters emphasizes. Dennis, one of the students initially objected to that notion, expressing that everyone isn't affected by gun violence the way a disease affects people.  Marlon asked the students to raise their hands if the following questions applied to them:
  • Do you know someone that has been shot or know someone that has shot another person?
  • Have you ever heard gunshots (either outside your window at home or anywhere else in your neighborhood)? Before the age of 18? Before the age of 14? Before the age of 11?

Sadly, to both questions every student except for one all hands were raised. The students reflected on their answers and began acknowledging the effects that such experiences have on their decision-making. Many agreed that at this point gun violence is viewed as normal and "just a way of life in the hood."  Further discussion with classmates led Dennis and other students began to understand the perspective that violence can act like a disease. The importance of this acknowledgement is that if we accept that violence acts like a disease we can accept that it can be interrupted, or cured.  The hour and half ended with this same young man, Dennis, asking Marlon and Radel, "how can I be involved with S.O.S and YO S.O.S?" 




Slowly, but surely our message that gun violence is NOT normal is shifting from whispers of a few in to reverberations of many.

View The Interrupters trailer here: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wS5Hjhy1RhM 

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Grieving Dad, The Former Cattle Raider And The Youth Worker



In a cozy space where the teens of YO S.O.S. usually meet, known as the YOasis because of its reputation as a safe space, a small international delegation from the United Nations met with YO S.O.S. staff and participants, and members of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence,  reACTION, and DCTV on Thursday, July 5th. It was organized by Oxfam Scotland, an international organization that takes a rights-based approach to its development, humanitarian, and campaign work. We began the visit by hearing from David Grimason, from Scotland, who held the room close to tears as he spoke about the death of his son Alistair. Alistair was two years old when he was murdered by a gunman while sleeping in his pram.  

The delegation included representatives from Spain, Kenya, and Scotland.  Oxfam is currently campaigning at the United Nations to negotiate a stronger arms trade treaty amongst nations. During their time with us we also discussed the parallels between gun violence in Brooklyn neighborhoods, Kenyan villages and Scottish and Turkish cities. Interestingly, all of the people present had had the experience of being told that they don't how the guns are getting into their respective neighborhoods.

After this gripping dialogue, we walked over to the anti gun violence mural located just blocks away from the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center. What a way to spend the day.

Special thank you to: Amy Ellenbogen., Ife Charles, Radel Clause, Dwight Small, Jackie Hilly, Shaina Harriston, Stephanie Skaff, Jamie Livingstone, Marta Muixi Casaldaliga, Julius Arile, and David Grimason.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Graduation






 "I never thought I would be the one educating people and telling them about how to end gun violence. I never thought it would be me." Dieynaba Sy, Youth Organizer 2011-212
Those are the words of one of this year's 2011-2012 YO S.O.S graduates. This past Thursday, Crown Heights celebrated the (one) year of work the teenagers of Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets (YO S.O.S) by crowning them with an exquisite graduation ceremony. Located in a community event space, fit with a backyard with tiki lamps, and an indoor space perfect for royal celebration, along with tasty foods, our crowning of the youth organizers was ready to go down in Crown Heights history. 

The Crown Heights Mediation Center celebrated the graduation of 19 youth organizers of YO S.O.S for their year of work in organizing and strategizing ways to inform and educate their community of peers about the epidemic crisis of gun violence. After marching these teens all over the city and even upstate New York, they were deserving of celebration and recognition. AmeriCorps Program Assistant, Radel Clause, was the night's master of ceremonies and had the audience of about 60 in tears of laughter.


Youth Organizers, Veronica Gonzalez, Shakeel Howell, Nickeisha Gaynor and Reean Charles gave heartwarming speeches and poems about how much YO SOS has helped them as individuals in their personal growth. Veronica spoke about witnessing a shootout prior to YO S.O.S. and being proud that she was able to be apart of a group of people that are working to end gun violence in her community. She was followed by a jaw-dropping performance poem by youth organizer, Nickeisha Gaynor.


Our keynote address was delivered by Crown Heights' own royal figure, Queen Ife Charles, (she might not like this) Deputy Project Director of the Crown Heights Mediation Center. A special honor was given to Save Our Streets (S.O.S) Violence Interrupter, Rudy Suggs,to whom twin youth organizers, Shanice & Shyan James expressed, "would have never heard about YO SOS if it wasn't for Rudy." 


Of course, we have dozens of pictures on our facebook page, but we are give only going you all a taste of our Crowning ceremony in this email to entice you.  Special thanks to Amy Ellenbogen, Ife Charles, Al Siegel, Eliana Horn, Anthony Mohen, Lizzie Dewan, Derick Scott, David Bookhart, Allen James, Patsy Foley, Ruby-Beth Buitekant, Jonelli Gordon, Achisimach Yisrael, and Radel Clause.



See all the pictures from the event on our Facebook page.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

YO S.O.S. Flash Mob 2012



Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets inspired and surprised people on a busy corner in Crown Heights, Brooklyn on Wednesday. The Youth Organizers and their friends pulled off a Flash Mob to bring attention to gun violence and to invite people to the Save Our Streets March To End Gun Violence. 
The Flash Mob started with a “fight” between two members of YO S.O.S. that quickly escalated into a large group of teenagers yelling and ready to throw punches. Using the powerful notion of 'interruption," that Save Our Streets Crown Heights uses daily in their anti-violence work, the “fight” was interrupted by another group member. The teenager yelled powerfully to the group and the onlookers, “Violence is not the answer. This is NOT who we are. We are Youth Organizing To Save Our Streets.”  As soon as she finished speaking, the music began.  Waving Flag by K’naan  starting playing (from what seemed like nowhere) and like that they were off.
All the teenagers fell into place dancing their well rehearsed moves to the song.  They had smiles on their faces and the neighborhood noticed. Traffic stopped.  People stood still. The cell phones came out. One man came out of a barber shop mid hair cut with a plastic sheet still draped over his outfit. It was brief and powerful. A group of younger kids eager to participate carried the group’s huge sign and walked up and down the block with a sign that said, “We are Youth Organizing To Save Our Streets and we are out here to say STOP THE VIOLENCE.” 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Melissa Scott, YO S.O.S. Youth Organizer, On Finding Community When She Needed It The Most

Melissa Scott was inspired to join Youth Organizing to Save Out Streets after hearing the March to End Gun Violence chants from her aunt's home. Melissa is an artist and has submitted a piece to the S.O.S. Arts to End Violence Initiative. She is graduating from YO S.O.S. this June. Here is her story:


Melissa Scott welcoming guests to the
Arts to End Violence Gallery Opening on May 23, 2012
"It was around late October when I saw them. I was coming home from school and had stopped by my aunt's day care. I remember clearly the conversation we were having before I heard the resonating chants from outside.

We were discussing, as we always did, the obligations I had to myself to be strong and to power through what I thought was a life crisis. The previous summer, I had moved to brooklyn under circumstances that no one could of predicted. I had come here under the false assumption that our move was temporary, and yet a month later, days before the end of the summer, I was still here. The move had taken an emotional toll on me, and the world I knew and was used to had collapsed around me. I hadn't noticed until the damage was irreversible. At one point, it was three weeks into the semester and I still hadn't been enrolled in school. When I finally was enrolled, I was way behind. In the most important year of my high school career, my grades were of standards that I refused to except. I was frustrated and anxious, and it didn't help that I had low morale and felt completely lost and without a purpose. I remember sitting there that day saying I had given up on school and on my self. My aunt sat there listening to me and I knew that even though she was open minded, she wouldn't understand. My environment didn't have the richness it used to have; a week of school would pass and I would feel like I hadn't learned anything and I had no drive to persuade myself to make the effort.


Melissa Scott's submission to Arts to End Violence
 entitled "Result"

Then the phone rang, and I sat there waiting for my aunt to get off the phone. I tuned my self out of the world and simply stared off into space. At first it came in incoherent waves of noise, loud and fuzzy. As the source of the noise came closer, the words became clearer and subconsciously I became aware of them. I got up and exited the day care. When I stepped out, I was immediately lost into a massive crowd of people. The next thing I know, someone had handed me a flyer. I didn't look at it as I was still trying to tune into the words on the megaphone. I edged through the crowd telling my aunt I wouldn't go far, but soon I was lost within the sea of black and white. I found myself chanting the words before I realized what I was saying: "You save my child, I'll save yours. You watch my back, I'll watch yours". I looked around at everyone and relished what I was truly in the middle of. Here and there, I saw anti-gun posters, shirts that depicted the faces of deceased ones, a poster with a child saying "Don't shoot I wanna grow up". I followed them as they marched, my feet moving in sync with those around me. I didn't know where they were going, but I knew that I would follow. I had never in my life seen a group of people come together in such a large mass and voice there beliefs so loudly. Even though I was lost in a sea of unknown faces, I felt my heart swell with joy, my body humming, my soul uplifted for the first time in months.

The marchers turned into a small park that I assumed was blocks away from my house. People began speaking while others handed out balloons and markers which we were told to use to write messages on the balloons. I found myself shuffling around, helping to distribute the balloons and markers, and fearlessly socializing with the members of the organization known as S.O.S., trying to find out how exactly they worked. Even with the brief summary the members provided, I still couldn't wrap my mind around what it was they did and how they did it. I phoned my aunt reassuring her that I could find my way back home, and when I hung up the phone and looked around for someone who I could approach to get directions, I heard her. A women with a strong booming voice that as she continued to talk could only be described as passionate and caring, yet assertive and demanding. She spoke strongly of her views on the issue of violence and the power within community. Her name was Ife, and her words contained the power to empower me to step up. At that very moment I acknowledged myself as a member of that community; at that very moment I developed a voice. She was calling out to the crowd, telling us that we could have an impact, that we could make a change. I had found something to be passionate about; I believed every word of it. 

When she was finished I was left stunned as all around me balloons were released into the air, a perfect addition to the moment. I had simply wrote on my ballon "peace, love, and community". I looked at the letters for one last time before releasing it into the air.

Melissa Scott standing with her piece entitled
"Result" at the Arts to End Violence
Gallery Opening on May 23, 2012

Fast forward a week later, I met a violence interrupter of S.O.S., a friend of my aunt's, for the first time. He was very charismatic and was delighted to help me. When I asked him to join S.O.S., he chuckled and asked me how old I was. I replied and he directed me to YO S.O.S. I was nervous at first to join a program filled with youth my age who were more familiar with the area then me. I was scared to venture out socially and acquaint myself with them. But that I did. And here I am now, it's the last weeks of april and I have been thoroughly involved in YO S.O.S. I have a stable environment filled with individuals who are passionate about many things, who influenced me to care to choose the right path, and most importantly, who helped me believe in myself, my environment, and my voice. "
Please visit www.soscrownheights.org to learn more about Save Our Streets Crown Heights

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

YO S.O.S. member, Francine Burns, wants you to join YO S.O.S.

My name is Francine Burns and my experience here as a youth organizer for YO S.O.S has been great! I was able to meet so many new people and learn about them. I was able to share how I felt at anytime and we were able to plan and participate in so many events like the S.O.S. Peace March, YO S.O.S. flashmob, caroling and much more. These events were so much fun and when we are not planning events we might just be playing a game together, giving a presentation about gun violence, or having a discussion on an interesting topic that is most likely related to gun violence. Anyone who wants to join a program and is in the age range from14-17, I encourage you to consider joining this program because you will have so many opportunities and YO S.O.S is like a second family! You will love it!

Please download and complete an application for he 2012-2013 cycle of YO S.O.S. You can send it to us at 221 Kingston Avenue, 3rd floor, Brooklyn, NY 11213. You can also email it to us at yosos@crownheights.org.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

YOUTH @ CENTER: COMBATING YOUTH VIOLENCE--FEATURING REEAN CHARLES OF YO S.O.S.

YOUTH @ CENTER: COMBATING YOUTH VIOLENCE A few weeks ago, on March 21, Child Welfare Watch of the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School hosted an event, Combating Yo...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Global Youth Service Day




Today was a refreshing day with The High School for Public Service during their 8th Annual Global Youth Service Day. #GYSD The day began with our Program Coordinator, Marlon Peterson, speaking at a school rally at the High School for Public Service about the importance of volunteers in the work that we do. From there Marlon, two teachers, and 25 ninth and tenth graders walked from Kingston Avenue and Winthrop to the YOasis. One of the students said during the walk, "I've never seen this part of the neighborhood."


Once we reached the YOasis and the teens were given a brief introduction to S.O.S. and YO S.O.S., we grouped off and sent into the neighborhood to conduct "virtual shooting responses" with store owners along St. Johns Avenue from Kingston Avenue to Utica Avenue. The students went into stores to ask employees and owners to discuss violence with us. Merchants wrote their own messages. One merchant spent nearly 30 minutes translating his message into English on his phone so that he could share his story.


The students from HSPS walked around Crown Heights asking people to open their stores and their hearts for a moment to discuss gun violence. The results was awe inspiring. Tons of merchants spoke to us and one Crown Heights resident who has lived in the neighborhood for over 20 years said, "wow it's amazing to see these young people out here doing this."

The HSPS students were able to get 18 different store merchants to create virtual shooting response posters. Amazing! All of the posters can be seen on our facebook page.









Another highlight was running into Rudy Suggs, an S.O.S. Violence Interrupter. Although on vacation, Rudy stopped for about 20 minutes to speak with the teens on the street. He was conducting class in the streets, the old school way, the way "the corner" was intended to be used.







Once we returned to the YOasis, we can an equally powerful debriefing of their day in the neighborhood representing SOS and YO SOS. Thank to HSPS for sharing this special day with us. YOUTH POWER!


YO S.O.S. At The Department of Probation





On April 11th 2012 we spoke with a group teens at the New York City Department of Probation about: The Problem, Transmission, and how to Cure gun violence. We had a great raising awareness dialogue with a room of about 25 teens and 5+probation staff. It felt great. We are planting seeds that violence is NOT NORMAL one conversation at a time.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Youth Organizer, Melissa Scott, on YO S.O.S.

 "By taking part in this program I've grown as an individual. I've learned how to self-sacrifice, to put forth for the community. It's hands on experience with the world. I don't think I can find a better place that exposes us to realities of the world and steps out with us. It is reaching out to the community and making it a part of our family." Melissa Scott, 16.

Monday, April 2, 2012

YOLO, huh?



by  Nickeisha Gaynor, Youth Organizer

Y.O.L.O. the moto means You Only Live Once.

"You only live once," Drake is saying you only live once however the way some teens are taking it is to live their life whichever way they please because they’re saying "YOLO you only live once." Their making fast money, drinking, smoking getting high like it is funny. And you think that’s the way to live. Walking around the corner ducking and dogging your problems.

That’s no way to live.

Get an education, getting a life you could be proud of making money that doesn’t have blood on it.  Rappers give you a life style nowadays that people are trying to live up to but fail to succeed. Results in youths dying -- transmitted though these rappers in their rapping videos, they shooting people, showing off silver and gold.

You only live once? Which way are you going to choose to live?  

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Message Kept to Yourself is Just a Secret


On Tuesday March 20th a sea of purple tee shirts took to Kingston Ave. YO S.O.S. set up a table and went to work. Youth Organizers traveled from Eastern Parkway to St. John's on Kingston Ave spreading their message.  They talked to people about violence.  They spoke to anyone that would listen about how VIOLENCE IS LIKE A DISEASE AND TOGETHER WE CAN CURE IT.  They encouraged people to write their own messages of Peace.  Please check out our facebook album to see all the pictures from this powerful day

Next time you see us out and about please stop, introduce yourself, make your own poster and join our movement. YOUTH POWER. 


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Reean Charles, Youth Organizer, on COMBATING YOUTH VIOLENCE: CONCRETE SOLUTIONS FOR NEW YORK CITY PANEL


On March 21st Reean Charles, Youth Organizer and High School Intern, was featured on:

COMBATING YOUTH VIOLENCE: CONCRETE SOLUTIONS FOR NEW YORK CITY PANEL



Youth violence has declined sharply over two decades–more than 70 percent in New York State, according to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention. Yet in some neighborhoods there are now increasing reports of gang activity and violence. Tensions and distrust remain high between law enforcement officials and community members – especially young people. Leaders in other cities have shown that youth, communities, and law enforcement can work together for successful solutions. Can we follow that path in New York? What strategies are already working, and how can we make them stronger?
To address these questions the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School will present “Combating Youth Violence: Concrete Solutions for New York City” on Wednesday, March 21, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., in the Theresa Lang Community & Student Center, 55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor.
With remarks from: David Kennedy, author of Don’t Shoot: One Man, A Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America; and director of the John Jay Center for Crime Prevention and Control; a conversation moderated by Errol Louis, host of Inside City Hall will follow with:
This event is free, but an RSVP is required by emailing centernyc@newschool.edu.
It and the Center’s research about youth and families is made possible by the generous support of the Sirus Fund, the Milano Foundation, the Pinkerton Foundation, the Child Welfare Fund, the Viola W. Bernard Foundation and the Ira W. DeCamp Foundation.
Reean spoke beautifully about the importance of funding Youth Programs and the mindsets of youth.  She represented herself, YO S.O.S., and Brooklyn.  We are so proud of you, Reean. Congratulations! 
Reean with Council Member Mark-Viverito, Commissioner O'Conner and CEO, Sekou 













Reean's name plate at the panel
Reean with Director, David Kennedy, Director of Crime Prevention and Control
Reean with conference organizer, Talib