Non-profit groups call for more funding to maintain free programs for Philadelphia's youth

On a day when at least a dozen people were injured in shootings in Philadelphia, teens at City Hall staged a "die-in" to call attention to the gun violence crisis. 

Motiva Johnson organized the symbolic event to urge Philadelphia leaders to dedicate a larger portion of the city's budget to community investment programs.

Each student who participated in the "die-in" laid within a chalk outline drawn on the sidewalk for roughly two minutes and thirty seconds; one second for each person who has been shot and killed in Philadelphia this year. 

Johnson and his group weren't the only ones calling for action to combat the scourge of gun violence plaguing Philadelphia. Ryan Harris and members of his non-profit organization "As I Plant This Seed" were organizing a donation drive Thursday. 

"As I Plant This Seed" offers free programs to youths including boxing, etiquette, self-defense, chess and guitar. The goal is to steer kids away from falling into street crime.

Harris and his organization will flood the area of Broad and Hunting Park at noon Friday to seek donations to keep program available and free. Two other organizations dedicated to making investments in Philadelphia's youth will also join the donation. 

"The urgency of the gun violence is happening now we cannot wait for funding to happen so we kind of have to take things into our own hands when we got a whole bunch of kids depending on us and parents depending on us," Buddah Thompson-Power from Power Circle of Mentors said. 

The groups hope to receive enough donations to help them continue to offer potentially life-saving safe spaces for Philadelphia's youth. 

"Keep kids busy, because if they're not busy they're going to run straight to the streets," Thomas said. 




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