All Organizations

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42 organizations

Anti-Violence Partnership of Philadelphia

What the org has to say: “The mission of the Anti-Violence Partnership of Philadelphia (AVP) is to reduce the entire cycle of violence by providing a wide range of services from support and counseling for victims and their families to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of violence. We provide comprehensive and collaborative programs throughout Philadelphia in schools, social service agencies, the courts, and at community sites.”

What we found: The Partnership monitors changes in the community so its offerings better suit the needs of the people who seek it out. For example, the organization noticed that many of its clients were dealing with a level of re-victimization it hadn’t seen before, as well as the heavy impact on the entire family, so the staff has shifted its practices to address these issues. When responding to police brutality, AVP staffers recognized that they had to react to the level of violence instead of the label placed on the crime, because asking police to investigate the interests of other law enforcement can create conflicts of interest. You can partake in the organization’s support groups online or in-person.

Art Museum Area West Philly Southwest Philly

Asociación de Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM)

What the org has to say: “To put it simply, we care about what we do and the livelihoods of our neighbors. Our organization is representative of the community we serve. We learn about the issues at hand, make informed decisions and take realistic approaches to live up to our mission, which is to help all families achieve their greatest potential.”

What we found: APM feels like a staple in the Kensington community, especially for Spanish speakers. Its Community Connector program aims to help members of the neighborhood tackle projects that will improve their blocks, such as clean-up efforts. They provide a wide variety of services, with many prioritizing mental health care, creative ways to work through trauma, and involvement in bettering the community.

North Philly

Blackwell Cultural Alliance

West Philly

CARES Philadelphia

What the org has to say: “Philadelphia CARES (which stands for Crisis Assistance, Response, and Engagement for Survivors) is a collaboration between the District Attorney’s Office, the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Officer and the nonprofit Anti-Violence Partnership of Philadelphia. The CARES unit is a division of The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office that seeks to help families of homicide victims.”

What we found: CARES primarily provides crisis response, including grief counseling, funeral assistance, and utility support. Before the pandemic, its representatives would meet victims at the scene of a crime or in the hospital for follow-up care. With in-person access limited by the pandemic, CARES now reaches out via phone to provide resources. The organization is connected to all major hospitals in Philadelphia, as well as to several faith-based organizations.

Center City


What the org has to say: “COMHAR is a comprehensive human services organization that provides community centers, community living arrangements, co-occurring behavioral health and addiction programs, services for the Latino community, services supporting individuals with HIV/Aids, and children and family services.”

What we found: Largely serving the Kensington neighborhood, the COMHAR’s representatives attend community events to offer its services to anyone who may need them. COMHAR has programs focused on art, recovery, and behavioral health specifically for Latinx individuals, and makes sure that no one ever pays for their services out of pocket. COMHAR has invested in language access to reach more residents, and offers its services in several languages, including English, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian, Mandarin, and Malayalam.

West Kensington

CeaseFire PA

What the org has to say: “CeaseFire PA is a statewide gun violence prevention advocacy group. We believe that everyone should be able to live a life free from gun violence, where they feel and are safe, and we work to make that world a reality by building the kind of political and public support it takes to change public policy.”

What we found: Are you a Philadelphian that wants to see major change in the way our city deals with gun violence? If so, CeaseFirePA offers volunteer programs that can teach you to advocate for exactly that. CeaseFirePA prides itself on creating local, grassroots groups of volunteers who want to find ways to hold their local leaders accountable. Volunteering opportunities are available throughout the entire state, and major cities such as Philadelphia have their own organizers. By signing up, you’ll contribute to CeaseFirePA’s long-running advocacy for what it calls “common sense gun violence prevention legislation.”

Center City

Central Division Victim Services

What the org has to say: “Our vision is to be a leader that advocates for victims and witnesses of crime in North & Central Philadelphia. We hope to build bridges to create safer communities and to be seen as the community-based organization that connects resources to the neighborhoods as well as clients we serve.”

What we found: CDVS serves a large part of the city’s Asian American and LGBTQ communities, as well as individuals who were the victim of a crime while visiting Philadelphia. It organizes an annual conference called Women on the Rise, which aims to empower and educate women about signals of victimization. All its services are free, and the organization will pay for counseling.

North Philly

Change Our Future

What the organization has to say:

“Our organization focuses on youth development programming and youth empowerment. Our goals are to remove barriers and labels placed on underserved communities. Programs are structured to engage and challenge the youth to be agents of change themselves.”

What we found:

Change Our Future recently launched the “Next Man Up” mentoring program at Parkway Northwest High School in West Oak Lane, and is preparing to expand to two more schools. COF also hosts a free annual “I AM Youth Leadership Summit” for Philadelphia high school students. The youth leadership summit provides leadership workshops, motivational speeches, gender table talks, resume review, career development workshops, and connections to job opportunities at their signature career fair. Throughout the year, COF also collects and distributes school supplies and personal hygiene products for students of all ages.

Northwest Philadelphia Philadelphia


What the org has to say: “Concilio provides critical human service programming such as foster care, adoption services, youth development, and after-school programming, and Victim Witness Services. Concilio is also an art and cultural convener for the community’s most significant and historical events.”

What we found: If you were the victim of a crime and find yourself having to move with little notice, Concilio can help. The organization can help you learn more about relocation, and also provides cash grants of up to $2,000 to speed up your move. Concilio is also a leader in assisting with Victims Compensation forms to make sure Philadelphians are getting the funds they need to cope with a homicide.

North Philly

Drexel University - Healing Hurt People

What the org has to say: “HHP is a program for people ages 8 to 35 who have been shot, stabbed, or assaulted, and for those who have witnessed these events. The goal of the program is to help survivors heal from their physical and emotional wounds in order to support their well-being, personal healing, and ultimately, break the cycle of violence.”

What we found: Healing Hurt People’s specialists go into the hospital to figure out a victim’s needs, which often include financial support, being accompanied to court, or help filling out paperwork. The organization’s social media campaign Our Words Heal aims to create organic conversations about recovery.

West Philly

Drexel University - Peer Response

What the org has to say: “Peer Response is a violence prevention program that welcomes gun violence survivors to apply to be a peer mentor. Mentors will work with peers who have been affected by gun violence by using their life experiences as a tool to support healing.”

What we found: Peer Response helps people who have lived through violence reflect on those experiences and turn them into advice and lessons for others who may encounter similar challenges. The group offers a variety of ways to get involved, from training to state certification to job placement. All Peer Response mentors are cross-trained as community health workers and certified peer specialists. Most participants in this nine-week selective program are Black men, but the program is looking to recruit more women.

West Philly

EMIR (Every Murder is Real)

What the org has to say: “Survivors of a violent death have to contend with a totally different set of circumstances than someone who has experienced a ‘natural’ death. EMIR is here to guide survivors through the many feelings they will experience and the legal ramifications that are inevitable. EMIR offers concrete, practical, and compassionate steps towards healing.”

What we found: EMIR approaches healing by engaging the whole family in activism and advocacy. The organization refers to itself as a “homicide survivors center,” and says that in 20 years, it has never had to turn anyone away. Because the Philadelphia Police Department reports all homicides to EMIR, the organization can reach families when they need it the most.



What the org has to say: “G.R.O.W.N. is designed to work as a conduit for change and empowerment. To be utilized by Philadelphians to demonstrate and highlight their growth and maturity over adverse situations that occurred in their lives. G.R.O.W.N. participants exercise their civic responsibilities and continuously strive to better their conditions.”

What we found: G.R.O.W.N.’s approach to mentoring addresses both shooting victims and alleged shooters. According to the organization’s co-founder and director, Connell Drinks, G.R.O.W.N. uses “a cognitive-based program to change their thinking and pull them away from the pull of the streets.” The organization’s programming ranges from trauma-informed therapy to creative activities. G.R.O.W.N. says it is “trying to make doing positive cool.”

Northeast Philly

Juvenile Law Center

What the org has to say: “Juvenile Law Center advocates for rights, dignity, equity and opportunity for youth in the child welfare and justice systems. We envision a world that affirms the unique and developmentally distinct qualities of youth, guarantees fair and equitable treatment, and ensures opportunities for successful adulthood.”

What we found: Juvenile Law Center takes a unique approach to the work they do: They view youth as leaders in child welfare and juvenile justice reform. The organization hires young Philadelphians to create advocacy projects. As participants pursue their work, the organization also trains them to talk to the media and speak publicly. Juvenile Law Center youth often attend hearings, city council meetings, press hearings, and workshops to help them best understand how these proceedings can differ from case to case.

Center City

La Puerta Abierta

What the org has to say: “LPA provides pro-bono counseling with youth and families who cannot access services elsewhere due to language, economic, legal, and social barriers. We work and learn alongside those who are impacted by lack of documentation and displacement of family members.”

What we found: LPA’s executive director, Cathi Tillman, says the organization sees the people it works with as community members, rather than clients. The organization has created a community of individuals who are searching for constructive ways to work through their mental health concerns. Many participants have referred their friends and family to LPA’s legal counseling. Tillman describes members as feeling “more empowered, feeling more connected, less afraid, more confident, more competent” through their work with LPA.

Kensington South Philly

Men Who Care Germantown

Northeast Philly

Mighty Writers

What the org has to say: “We are a nonprofit organization that focuses on teaching kids to think clearly so they can write with clarity. With all completed work going ungraded, our organization strives to create a non-traditional classroom atmosphere where kids can express themselves through their writing.”

What we found: Mighty Writers works to be as accessible as possible by having many locations across the city. The group believes that clear thinking is a part of anti-violence work, because a clearer mind will lead to less impulsive decision-making, and that its writing exercises can give young people in Philadelphia a clearer state of mind. The MW workspaces encourage participants to use writing to navigate their feelings and express any difficulties they may be facing. Pre-pandemic, Mighty Writers hosted an anti-violence get-together, where kids got to explain their experiences with violence directly to their local politicians.

West Philly South Philly North Philly Kennett Square Bella Vista

Mothers in Charge

What the org has to say: “We are a violence prevention, education and intervention-based organization, which advocates and supports youth, young adults, families and community organizations affected by violence. We are made up of impassioned mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and others who are committed to working towards saving lives and preventing another mother from having to experience this terrible tragedy.”

What we found: Parents in Philly can turn to Mothers in Charge if they’re looking for a place to work through grief related to violence. MIC’s founder lost her son to a shooting; she now supports other parents navigating similar tragedies. The organization offers services ranging from anger management to youth programming, which it hopes will prevent Philadelphia’s families from experiencing the pain of loss due to violence.

Northern Liberties

Northeast Victim Services

What the org has to say: “Northeast Victim Service (NEVS) is a non-profit community organization and the principal crime victim advocate for Northeast Philadelphia. NEVS works to empower victims of crime through advocacy and support, and to assist the community in its efforts to reduce the effects of crime through outreach and education.”

What we found: Northeast Victim Services, located near Torresdale, helps crime victims navigate the criminal justice system, including applying for the Victims Compensation Assistance Program. NEVS works with all local hospitals, offers services in English and Spanish, and gets the majority of its clients through referrals from police.


Northwest Victim Services

What the org has to say: “Northwest Victims Services aims to provide prompt, effective, and holistic services to all victims of crime in Northwest Philadelphia while increasing strategies to elevate community safety. Services provided include crisis and supportive counseling, accompaniment, financial assistance, and information/referral. In addition to providing services to crime victims, NVS provides community programs to increase safety and knowledge of their services.”

What we found: Losing a loved one to gun violence or surviving a shooting can create so many needs, including medical costs, lost time from work, funeral expenses, the need to move, counseling, and more. NWVS helps victims of all crimes face these hurdles, turning hardly anyone away. Even after an individual’s immediate needs are met, NWVS stays in touch by attending court with clients, sending holiday cards, and collaborating with local hospitals.


Pennsylvania Prison Society

What the org has to say: “The Society advocates for systemic policy change, responds to the concerns of incarcerated people and their families, provides subsidized bus service for Philadelphia families visiting loved ones incarcerated in different parts of the state, and provides assistance to individuals returning home from incarceration. It is the only non-profit organization in the United States with this degree of access to jails and prisons.”

What we found: Pennsylvania Prison Society helps incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people and their family members reintegrate into society. The organization pairs people with a mentor and sets them up with a monthly support group. PPS and its volunteers can also help if you’re facing abuse or lack healthcare.

Center City

Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth

What the org has to say: “The PMAY Artists’ Initiative is designed for serious music students who have a high musical aptitude and the motivation to pursue a professional music career on a standard orchestral instrument. It is a collaboration of leading Philadelphia music institutions that believe in providing access to music education for all students.”

What we found: Middle and high school students who know how to play instruments as part of an orchestra can audition for this prestigious program, which encourages them to pursue a career in music. Staffers attend workshops focused on trauma-informed practices.

South Philly


What the org has to say: "Philadelphia’s app for gun violence prevention and community resources. The PHILLY TRUCE APP puts Philadelphians with knowledge of potentially violent conflicts in direct contact 24/7 with trained mediators.”

What we found: Download the Philly TRUCE App to make sure you know where to turn if you, a loved one, or a stranger wind up in a situation that feels as though it could turn violent.  On one side of it, you can privately enter your name, phone number, email, location, and the type of conflict you’re witnessing or experiencing. From there, you will be connected with a trained volunteer mediator that can help to defuse the situation. You should also download the Philly TRUCE App if you’re in a position to help. Philly TRUCE is also looking for volunteers, and through an in-app signup, you can train to become a mediator.

*Please remember that the Philly TRUCE App is not a substitute for calling 911. *


Power of Paint (POP)

What the org has to say: “Our mission at Power of Paint Art Academy & Management is to connect, unite, heal, and cultivate leaders who have a strong sense of community, self-awareness, and social responsibility. Our goal is to help counter issues such as depression, boredom, anxiety, esteem issues, grief/loss, and stress, among other things, by hosting art classes, workshops, and community events.”

What we found: Power of Paint started as a small group of women using art to build their self-esteem and focus on mental health. Once confined to a small North Philly basement, the organization has expanded to create hubs in West Philly, Southwest Philly, and over Zoom. POP realized that everyone in the city was being affected by gun violence and opened the opportunities up to anyone interested, young or old. Now, POP is a reliable and accessible safe space for Philadelphians to use art to address trauma.

West Philly Cedar Park

Safe Bet at Temple Safety Net

What the org has to say: “In an effort to prevent unintentional shootings, Temple University Hospital’s Safe Bet program offers free cable gun locks, no questions asked, to Philadelphia families who have small children and firearms.”

What we found: If you need a gun lock, Safe Bet at Temple Safety Net will give you one for free, no paperwork needed.

North Philly

Sankofa Healing Studio

What the org has to say: “Sankofa Healing Studio recognizes incarceration as a traumatic experience. The system of mass incarceration operates through structures of gendered and racial discrimination which disproportionately affect the Black Community. Sankofa is breaking the physical and emotional chains of trauma. We believe that holistic treatment approaches are needed to disrupt the development of re-traumatization, interrupt the cycle of intergenerational trauma, and heal the wounds of traumas that were experienced before incarceration. We support transformative justice.”

What we found: Sankofa offers therapy and other services that support mental health, with an emphasis on supporting the Black community through the impacts of racial and gender discrimination, particularly incarceration and interactions with police. The healing studio team runs trauma-informed in-person and online therapy sessions, group therapy “healing circles,” reentry support groups, and peer support programs for mental health professionals.

North Philly

Taller Puertorriqueño

What the org has to say: “Taller Puertorriqueño uses art to promote development within its community and the Latino Diaspora and build bridges to the Greater Philadelphia region. We are a community-based cultural organization whose primary purpose is to preserve, develop and promote Puerto Rican arts and culture, grounded in the conviction that embracing one’s cultural heritage is central to community empowerment.”

What we found: Taller Puertorriqueño’s education director, Marilyn Rodriguez, says her organization strives to help the community in any shape or form. The colorful exterior of its Kensington location invites neighbors in and highlights the community beyond the violence. The organization offers tours of their gallery and the Fairhill neighborhood’s murals as an introduction to the neighborhood’s rich Latinx history and community. Taller Puertorriqueño serves Kensington by offering bilingual services, holiday meals for those in need, a free after-school arts program, and community events.

Kensington Fairhill

The Center for Returning Citizens

What the org has to say: “The Center for Returning Citizens is a Philadelphia-based nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of returning citizens (formerly incarcerated people), their families, and communities. Our goal is to fight social injustice and mass incarceration by helping returning citizens transition and build new lives, advocating for their rights, and educating the public about the detrimental effects of mass incarceration.”

What we found: TCRC works primarily with people impacted by the criminal justice system and who are looking to fulfill their court-mandated community service. The organization aims to help these individuals have a meaningful community service experience that benefits the communities they’re from. TCRC is run by individuals who were previously incarcerated themselves, which they say gives them a unique perspective on their work. “We’re formerly incarcerated and we’re OGs,” says founder J. Jondhi Harrell. “We’re former bank robbers, former gang leaders, former drug dealers, and we’re uniquely qualified to show kids something different and be positive role models in their lives.”

Hunting Park Fairhill

The Eco Foundation

What the org has to say: “The ECO Foundation works collaboratively with the people we serve to provide creative education, healthy food, and employment opportunities, so they can meet their needs today and thrive for generations to come. We liberate people from institutional and structural oppression, so they can be better for themselves and their communities.”

What we found: ECO’s after-school classes teach young people things like self-defense, music, and video production, with the goal of helping students turn their new skills into employment. The Foundation also distributes free fresh food.

West Philly

The Elevation Project

What the organization has to say:
The Elevation Project is a community-based organization that strives to meet the needs of both at-risk and formerly incarcerated individuals by providing a variety of services in a safe and supportive environment in order to empower fresh starts and open new pathways. Our work aims to improve lives, reduce recidivism and crime, and drive systemic change. The Elevation Project focuses on providing quality programming in following areas: cognitive thinking, coping with trauma, job readiness, parenting skills, and business development.

What we found out:

The Elevation project runs three programs including The Transformative Business Center, Reentry Support Hub, and The Elevate Program. It also hosts monthly community events centered around justice-impacted families, such as record-clearing clinics and food giveaways. Their Transformative Business Center (Small Business Incubator) gives budding entrepreneurs access to workshops, traditional office equipment, and trade-specific technology. The** Reentry Support Hub** helps residents apply for benefits, create resumes, apply to jobs, and access clothes, housing, and other basic needs. Specific job training includes CPR, ServSafe, and OSHA certification. The organization’s newest initiative, the Elevate Program, works with young men to start their own T-shirt lines. Throughout the eight-week workshop, participants work with case managers and mentors to design, print, package, and market the shirts. It’s all in an effort to give those at risk of incarceration a means of supporting themselves.

West Philly

The NOMO Foundation

What the organization has to say:

“We’re a community-based organization. Our whole mission is early intervention and violence prevention. We specialize in workforce development, offering job training, job readiness, and financial literacy courses. We teach kids how to go out and get jobs and have the right attitude and work ethic to live productive lives and earn an income. We’ve started adding a mental health and social component to our program. Each youth gets a case manager, a youth coordinator, and a network of adults that are here to help guide you and want to see your success. And we use the term real models, meaning that we are people who grew up in the shoes that you’re now walking in.”

What we found:

The NOMO Foundation offers tutoring and educational resources. Volunteers, including some teachers, focus on reducing barriers students face in their home and school environments. Students are eligible for incentives like free transportation, childcare, and up to $200 a month, for personal expenses. Parents can sometimes get help paying their utilities. There are NOMO Foundation centers in North, West, and South Philadelphia. The West Philly center offers transitional housing.

NOMO has an agreement with the District Attorney’s Office that allows some juvenile offenders to participate in its youth programming, in lieu of serving time in jail. There are trauma counselors onsite to help with their rehabilitation. NOMO also offers creative healing spaces through a unique art therapy program. NOMO’s RIPS program offers restorative justice counseling and advice to youth.

West Philly North Philly South Philly

The Village of Arts and Humanities

What the org has to say: “Our mission is to amplify the voices and aspirations of our North Philadelphia community by providing arts-based opportunities for self-expression and personal success that engage youth and their families, revitalize physical space, and preserve black heritage.”

What we found: The Village strives to create a mental and physical safe space for any young person it connects with. Students at the Village learn both the artistic and business aspects of art forms like photography, ceramics, and sustainable design. The Village primarily recruits directly from the neighborhood it exists in, and relies on other organizations to help it reach young people who have been incarcerated or involved with the criminal justice system.


Trauma Victim Support Advocates

What the org has to say: “Our hospital’s Trauma Victim Support Advocates are here to assist crime victims in meeting their physical, emotional, and personal needs both during and after their care at Temple Health. These advocates perform a variety of functions, including: offering comfort to patients in the trauma bay, updating families about their loved ones’ conditions, providing grief support to families of homicide victims, linking survivors to crime victim services, and offering emotional support to patients after they’ve been discharged from the hospital, to name a few.”

What we found: TVSA’s advocates find their clients within Temple Hospital, where they help crime victims access grief support, victims services, and emotional support after discharge.

Temple Hospital

Unity in the Community

What the organization has to say: “We work with youth that are at risk of shooting a gun or had a relative that was murdered. We connect them to the trades through our carpentry academy classes. They learn how to paint, put down floors, put up walls, and more. Most of our students come from single-parent households. We give them a weekly stipend, pair them with mentors, and take them on monthly trips. We also offer free therapy sessions through the Black Brain Campaign.”

What we found:

Unity in the Community has a resource center in South Philadelphia. People can get help looking for jobs, building their resumes, conflict resolution, and other essential needs.

The organization runs the Unity in the Community Carpentry Academy, a 24-week program that teaches teenagers between the ages of 14 and 19 about the basics of carpentry twice a week. Students receive a weekly stipend of $150, meals, and construction tools. They are also assigned a mentor and can receive free therapy at the center.  After they graduate, Unity connects students with employment opportunities; the organization also provides equipment to enable them to work on freelance projects, in their homes, and throughout the community.

South Philly

Uplift Center for Grieving Children

What the org has to say: “Uplift offers peer support groups for children and teens in grades K-12th who have experienced the death of someone significant in their lives. Peer support and a caring adult presence help to reduce the feelings of isolation and loneliness that children often experience after death. Creative activities and games allow children to express their thoughts and feelings about death. All groups are divided by age and developmental level to best tailor our support programs. Uplift also offers caregiver groups at the same time to provide support for adults raising a grieving child.”

What we found: Kids in Philadelphia who have lost loved ones can find solace in Uplift, whose Legacy group honors the deceased and teaches participants about healthy ways to cope with loss. The organization also trains professionals to support grieving youth. In partnership with the School District of Philadelphia, Uplift is currently running the Philly HopeLine, a toll-free number Philadelphians can call to speak with a clinician from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily about any issue that is causing them grief. To reach the Philly HopeLine, call 1-833-745-4673.

East Falls

Victim Witness Services of South Philadelphia

What the org has to say: “Victim/Witness Services of South Philadelphia (VWSSP) offers direct assistance anherd support to crime victims, witnesses and their families in the three Police Districts of South Philadelphia (1st, 3rd, and 17th Districts). The Pennsylvania Victims Compensation Assistance Program helps victims and their families ease the financial burdens they may face as a result of crime. We can assist you in filing a claim free of charge.”

What we found: South Philly is one of the most diverse parts of the city, and VWSSP offers services for the wide variety of backgrounds represented, such as longtime residents and members of newer refugee communities. VWSSP’s crime victim support services include direct assistance and guidance filing claims.

South Philly

Women Against Abuse

What the org has to say: “The mission of Women Against Abuse is to provide quality, compassionate, and nonjudgmental services in a manner that fosters self-respect and independence in persons experiencing intimate partner violence and to lead the struggle to end domestic violence through advocacy and community education.”

What we found: Women Against Abuse serves people of all gender identities who are experiencing intimate partner violence, and operates the only emergency domestic violence shelters in Philadelphia. The organization has confidential locations and 24-hour security, as well as other trauma-informed on-site services, including case management, therapy, and children’s programming.

Center City

YEAH Philly

What the org has to say: “YEAH works to create safe and authentic hangout spaces by providing culturally relevant engagement and implementing teen led interventions to address the root causes of violence. Utilizing teen action, YEAH works to interrupt the cycle of youth community violence in West and Southwest Philadelphia neighborhoods through peer led mediation and conflict resolution, community engagement, and economic opportunities.”

What we found: YEAH Philly teaches kids conflict resolution and provides safe spaces, food, cash support for bills, and assistance finding jobs, all in an effort to help them stay safe and break the cycle of trauma in West and Southwest Philadelphia. The organization focuses especially on teens and young adults who have been labeled violent or at-risk, offering court advocacy, case management, and skill-building services for young people exiting the Juvenile Justice Center.

West Philly Southwest Philly

YMCA Achievers Program

What the organization has to say:

Parents and interested family members should expect that their respective teen participants will be exposed to new concepts, ideas, and skill sets in an effort to widen their perspectives. We believe that many of our Philadelphia youth benefit from being immersed in new spaces and exposed to professionals who can provide mentorship, guidance, and support to assist youth in gaining a deeper understanding of themselves and what their futures can be. We’re creating a space that feels safe, where young people feel like they are cared for, and that they matter.

What we found out:
The goal of the Achievers Program is to prepare young people to live healthier lives by helping them access opportunities in higher education or careers. They do that by partnering with colleges and employers to teach character and life skills through lessons on conflict resolution, team building, and civic engagement. Trips to college campuses paired with onsite professional guest speakers expose youth to college prep initiatives, campus clubs, and other collegiate activities. Workshops connect them with professionals who can help them financially prepare for college. A volunteerism arm requires students to engage in small acts of kindness.

South Philly

Youth Art and Self-Empowerment Project

What the org has to say: “YASP is building a youth-led movement to end the practice of trying and incarcerating young people as adults and create a world without youth incarceration.  Through our work in the Philadelphia jails, YASP provides space for incarcerated young people to express themselves creatively and to develop as leaders both within and beyond the prison walls.”

What we found: YASP is a participatory defense hub, which is a method of community organizing that empowers people to fight for themselves in the legal system. As the only participatory defense youth hub in Philadelphia, YASP has worked to end the incarceration of young people and help incarcerated youth become community leaders. Their program The Healing Futures is the city’s first pre-charge restorative justice program, which serves as an alternative to prosecution for young people who would otherwise be facing charges in the criminal justice system. YASP also offers training in youth organizing and volunteer opportunities.


Youth Sentencing and Reentry Project

What the org has to say: “YSRP uses direct service and policy advocacy to transform the experiences of children prosecuted in the adult criminal justice system, and to ensure fair and thoughtful resentencing and reentry for individuals who were sentenced to life without parole as children (‘Juvenile Lifers’).”

What we found: YSRP’s goal is to have juvenile cases moved out of the adult justice system because in Pennsylvania, children as young as 10 can be charged as adults. Philadelphia has sentenced more children to life in prison without parole than any other city in the country. The organization works with clients for as long as they want, including when they are incarcerated and when they come home and need help reentering society. The staff meets monthly with trauma-informed therapists who teach them how to support the youth they are serving. YSRP offers art and poetry workshops to youth who are currently incarcerated and were charged as adults. Due to COVID, clients are now participating in those workshops over Zoom, on prison computers.

Center City