S.O.S. and the Mediation Center were recently selected to participate in a special Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) initiative focused on gun violence prevention. Both the Crown Heights and Bed-Stuy offices welcomed groups of roughly 20 young people between the ages of 14 and 24 to work with us and in the community as paid interns. The program began with a week of training focusing on job readiness skills, workplace professionalism, orientation to the history and goals of S.O.S. and the Mediation Center, and opportunities for group building and personal growth. After Week 1, S.O.S. Bed-Stuy hosted a welcome barbecue for both sites, and S.O.S. Crown Heights followed up with a second barbecue at the end of Week 2. Interns also participated in a shooting response in Crown Heights, joining the street team and neighbors to take a stand against violence.

Interns are now working with the S.O.S. and YO S.O.S. programs as well as at a number of local organizations including the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Launch Charter School, Achievement First, Repair the World, Met Foods, St. John’s Place Family Center, Trinity Grace Summer Program, Senator Hamilton’s office, Re-Connect Cafe, and South Side United Housing.

Interns have also had the opportunity to take part in a number of enrichment opportunities including screenings of the film Beyond Beats and Rhymes; a field trip to El Puente Academy for an event on the War on Drugs; a bowling trip to Melody Lanes; tabling at Hot 97’s Push for Peace event; and participation in free yoga classes at Shambhala Yoga and Dance.

Interns will also help plan and host the upcoming S.O.S. Lead By Example basketball tournament at St. John’s Rec Center on August 15th. For more information, contact David Gaskin at 917-862-8814.

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