December 2012 Newsletter



 December 19th, 2012


Stoneleigh Fellow Leslie Acoca Discusses Her Work With Girls in Detention on NPR

Listen to Fellow Leslie Acoca talk about the Girls Health Screen on NPR and read the companion article featured on the Kaiser Health News website.

Stoneleigh Fellow Dr. Ted Corbin featured in the latest edition of Drexel University School of Public Health magazine Interaction and Philadelphia Magazine

Dr. Corbin discusses the importance of adopting trauma-informed strategies for victims of violence.

Stoneleigh Emerging Leader Fellow Marnie Kaplan testifies at the Pennsylvania Department of Education

Read Emerging Leader Fellow Marnie Kaplan's testimony calling for a cessation of cyber school charter approvals.

Stoneleigh Foundation Highlighted in Governing Magazine

Stoneleigh Foundation was featured in Governing Magazine for our fellowship program that injects talent into government problem solving.


City Councilman Curtis J. Jones Jr. Promotes Youth Courts for Philadelphia.

Thanks to the efforts of Stoneleigh Fellow Gregg Volz, City Councilman Curtis J. Jones promoted the expansion of youth courts to City Council.


Message from the Executive Director 

cathy color resizedA Season of Peace
As I sat to write this message on December 11, I was already overwhelmed by the fact that in Philadelphia 2012 may be deadlier than 2011. As I sit updating it after the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, I am both deeply saddened and weirdly hopeful.

I grew up not far from Newtown and in many ways it is like Newtown Square. What happened there is incomprehensible unless you are a parent who has struggled to find the appropriate mental health services for your son like Liza Long. And despite the strong leadership of Police Commissioner Ramsey and the best intentions of hundreds of non-profits in the city dedicated to keeping our children safe, violent crime persists.

Two years ago, the Philadelphia Inquirer published a Pulitzer Award winning series profiling the problems with safety and school climate in the Philadelphia School District. Largely oblivious to the crisis in the schools, I rapidly became a scholar of the situation, and dove into a rabbit hole of disconnected violence reduction work taking place in this city that seems to have no end. After dozens of meetings, conversations, and conferences, I became convinced that Stoneleigh had an obligation and role to play in the prevention of violence in school, at home and in community. Thus, when SRC Chair Pedro Ramos approached the Foundation seeking support for a fellow to develop a comprehensive, uniform school safety and climate strategy, we were supportive. Despite that the issue fell outside of our core definition of vulnerable children, Stoneleigh understood that there is no more vulnerable child than the one who isn’t safe.

To advance the conversation, we focused our 2012 Stoneleigh Symposium on Youth Violence. Over 200 people from our community came to hear about diverse solutions. However, in the absence of a citywide strategy, connecting the dots remained a challenge. And so we persisted to determine how and where Stoneleigh could bring leadership and resources to advance a Youth Violence Prevention agenda. We studied other cities and other philanthropic collaborations. We pushed our way into meetings that we hoped would reveal a path. Finally, with the Dept. of Justice’s designation of Philadelphia as a National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention site, we found an opening and earlier this month, the Stoneleigh Board agreed to invest in a sustained initiative that will advance the vision of a Philadelphia with no youth homicides.

Though we have yet to fully define our initiative, we are certain that it will take more than Stoneleigh and its Fellows to achieve the vision. A child dying in our community from violence is unacceptable and hurts every one of us who lives, works, plays and loves our city.

Perhaps the nation is more willing today to more seriously look at the dual elephants in the living room: gun policy and mental health, but there is much that we can do right here, right now. The solution will require enlightened employers who recognize and value their next generation workforce and want their current employees to feel safe at home and at work. It will require government intervention that is data-driven and evidence-based.  It will require better and more coordination among many stakeholders and a framework for understanding and addressing the root cause of violence in our communities. And, it will require all of us in the philanthropic sector to share knowledge, identify funding gaps and promote dialogue to strategically align our efforts to increase our impact on youth violence in Philadelphia. During the next few months, Stoneleigh will be developing a theory of change that is child-centered, embedded in community, and data-driven.  I encourage anyone who wants to learn with us and align for impact to contact me at any time.

My wish for the Season of Peace is that this community rises to the challenge that our children are dying and we can stop it. 

Best Wishes,
Cathy Signature
Meet Our Fellow: Charles A. Williams III, PhD

chuckwilliamswebjIn our continuing series "Meet Our Fellows", we invite you to meet Dr. Charles A.Williams III, our newest Stoneleigh Fellow who is currently impacting the lives of foster youth. You can read Dr. William's inspiring biography here.

Stoneleigh Fellows Meet with Superintendent Dr. William Hite


Stoneleigh fellows, board members and staff met with Superintendent William Hite to have a conversation about the future of the School District of Philadelphia. Fellows provided ideas and discussed opportunities for collaboration with Superintendent Hite in pursuit of his mission to improve the district. We would like to thank Superintendent Hite and Student Services Chief Karyn Lynch for taking the time to meet with us to share their vision.

Featured Blog Posts

Creative Solutions Are Needed to Bring Effective Bullying Prevention to More YouthLisa M. Jones, PhD

Setting Justice-Involved Youth on the Path to Success Through Career and Technical Training Candace Putter, MSS, LCSW

Mentoring Can Set Foster Youth on a Path Toward Success - Brittany Anuszkiewicz

We Wish You A Happy Holiday!



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