Mayors Challenge: Meet the people driving 9 innovative projects forward

By Bloomberg Cities | June 26, 2019

Stoneleigh Fellow Rhonda McKitten reflects on her work with the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge to develop a trauma-informed and youth-centered Philadelphia Juvenile Assessment Center.

Innovation doesn’t happen by accident. Behind every bold idea and pathbreaking program in local government is a changemaker, and often teams of them, driving that work forward.

That’s very much the case in the nine U.S. cities that won last year’s Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge. After proposing ambitious solutions for some of their toughest challenges, and testing out those ideas with residents, these nine cities each took home $1 million to implement ideas that, in some cases, have never been tried before. […]

When children in Philadelphia are arrested, even for low-level offenses, they’ve typically been locked up with adults to await booking in a concrete cell. The city’s Mayors Challenge project aims to create a more appropriate intake experience for kids, one that is trauma-informed and youth-centered. […]

The project represents a collaboration of many departments across local government and the courts, including the Police Department, where Project Director Rhonda McKitten is a Stoneleigh Fellow after working almost 20 years as a juvenile public defender. “I’m most excited about keeping more children out of the formal court system,” McKitten said. “It will allow kids to learn from their mistakes without the stigma of a court record or probation supervision.”

View the full article