PHILADELPHIA - Amid rising gun violence that continues to impact Philadelphia's youth, a local teen and current college student founded a community resource center to provide a safe space for teens to gather and learn.
Akayla Brown, an 18-year-old student a Brown University, started a community based non-profit when she was just 13-years-old and later earned a Bill and Melinda Gates scholarship.
Browns youthful determination to shield the city's youth from the scourge of gun violence culminated by opening Dimplez 4 Dayz in Philadelphia's Mantua section. Brown and her mother worked tirelessly to obtain funding to back the center where kids can find a safe place to hang out, meet mentors and learn about opportunities.
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"With my resource center I am going to work with more teens now to combat gun violence and work on the trauma that’s happening in Philadelphia," Brown said.
She is hoping more peer-to-peer outreach and an open door at the center will help troubled teens find empowerment and confidence as alternatives to crime. Angela Richardson, Akayla's mother, said 50 teens have enrolled in the center's workforce development program with another 120 waiting.
Amid devastating gun violence plaguing Philadelphia teens, 18-year-old Akayla Brown organized and opened Dimplez 4 Dayz. The Mantua resource center provides the city's youth a safe place to gather, learn and seek mentorship.
"It’s giving me more hope that I'm going to be able to be that change for that I want to be for my city, I'm going to be able to be that hope for my city," Brown said.
According to the latest data provided by the Philadelphia Police Department, more than 200 kids under 18 have been shot and over 30 have died this year alone.