Stoneleigh Fellow Brandy Blasko spoke to Chalkbeat Philadelphia about her work to evaluate Philadelphia’s relatively new Youth Violence Reduction Initiative, which provides support directly to young people in the city’s schools.
Kevin Rosa’s office at Bartram High School has a couch for conversations, a computer for recording music, and a stash of barbering supplies for anyone who needs a quick trim.
It’s also a place where students in the school’s Youth Violence Reduction Initiative can go when they’re involved in a conflict or just need a break.
Travis, 17, is one of 30 male students participating in the program. Travis said Rosa’s office would be his first stop if he felt himself falling in with people who might get him involved in a dangerous situation. “In this school that’s the only person I will really open up to,” he said. (Chalkbeat is using pseudonyms for students interviewed for this story to protect them from potential violence or threats of violence stemming from their participation in the program.)