LinkedIn

07 September, 2017

WHY THE SCI GRATERFORD PA, LIFERS PUBLIC SAFETY INITIATIVE IS NECESSARY

Darius is a fourteen year old ninth grader with a fourth grade reading level and an IQ of 140. He is making his journey from childhood to manhood in a city that has been heralded by National Geographic Traveler Magazine (www.nationalgeographic.com) as the “Next Great American City”. At first blush, Philadelphia appears to be a metropolis which is morphing into a vibrant urban center which three internationally acclaimed academic institutions – the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, and Temple University – call home. Glass and concrete office towers and high-rise residential structures punctuate the expansive skyline of downtown Philadelphia. They cast an imposing shadow over the statue of William Penn which rests atop City Hall. Gleaming skyscrapers near Amtrak’s 30th Street Station dot Philadelphia’s western skyline and blur the line of demarcation separating Philadelphia’s downtown business district and University City. The aura of glitz, glamor, and hopefulness generated by a vibrant urban center attracts new businesses, investors, and high-income earning young professionals and “empty-nesters”. Yet, the “heart and soul” of an urban center is its neighborhoods.


Despite his innate brilliance, Darius is floundering in school. His inability to read at his grade level has been allowed to go unchecked. It is a scenario that has opened the door for some of his teachers to characterize him as being “unteachable” and question his intelligence. His academic performance has been lackluster and his interest in school – a school that is located in Philadelphia’s “heart and soul” -- dwindles with each passing day. Without positive intervention, as time progresses, Darius will make a decision either to continue to attend high school and graduate or to drop out. As Darius looks at the immediate environment outside of his home – a home that is located in the “heart and soul” of Philadelphia – the nation’s fifth largest metropolitan area, he cannot point to legitimate real-life options. His neighborhood is not basking in an aura of glitz, glamor, and hopefulness. Darius’ neighborhood is immersed in economic turpitude, sporadic violence, and despair. For Darius and thousands upon thousands of young men like Darius, resisting the gravitational pull of the streets and engaging in illegitimate economic ventures is an uphill battle. Strong male role models can help Darius and thousands of at-risk young men like him resist the gravitational pull of the streets, the lure of illegitimate economic ventures, and steer them away from the “fast track to prison”.


The SCI Graterford, PA Lifers Public Safety Initiative can provide Darius and the thousands upon thousands of at-risk youths who cannot see a future for themselves in a vibrant urban center. Created by an innovative group of Thought Leaders at SCI Graterford located in Graterford, Pennsylvania, the SCI Graterford PA Lifers Public Safety is designed to utilize cognitive transformation as a vehicle to move at-risk youths to, among other things, reflect on their behavior, appreciate the community in which they reside, and to realize their worthiness and the potential they possess and must explore. The SCI Graterford PA Lifers Public Safety Initiative is one of the critical solutions-based components of OPERATION FRESH START ™. OPERATION FRESH START ™ is crafted by The Honorable James M. DeLeon, a highly respected veteran jurist in the Criminal Court Division of Philadelphia’s Municipal Court. It is a powerful results-oriented multi-tiered blueprint for eradicating recidivism, creating pathways to reintegration, economic stability, and renewed prosperity.


Moving Darius and the thousands upon thousands of at-risk young men who languish in our neighborhoods – the urban center’s “heart and soul” -- to a space where they can unabashedly claim their worthiness, recognize and explore their potential, and resist the gravitational pull of the streets and illegitimate economic activity requires a change in their mindset. For these young men, a change in mindset is a critical "piece of the puzzle" to transcending the spiritual, psychological, and emotional toxicity of their environment. To achieve this, the SCI Graterford PA Lifers Public Safety Initiative mandates the establishment of Public Safety Initiative Transformational Centers (“PSI Transformational Centers”) in churches and mosques that will be staffed with strong positive male role models. Darius, and the thousands upon thousands of at-risk young men in our neighborhoods are asking the proverbial question: “Do you see me? Do you hear me? Do I matter?” Strong positive male role models will, through the PSI Transformational Centers, help foster a spiritual conversation which responds with a resounding “Yes!” to the proverbial question these young souls ask. At the same time, these strong positive male role models can help these young men effectively address their academic challenges by, among other things, stressing the importance of education, steering them to programs that provide tutoring which helps them excel academically, and helping them identify and obtain or create legitimate economic opportunities and real-life options.


Allowing an urban center to have its “heart and soul” – its neighborhoods – mired down with economic turpitude, violence, crime, and spiritual, psychological, and emotional toxicity is a train wreck waiting to happen. An urban center is only as strong and vibrant as its core – its heart and soul – its neighborhoods. Effectively addressing and resolving the key challenges that make it difficult – if not impossible – for at-risk young men in our midst to resist the gravitational pull of the streets and crime, to understand the importance of education and achieving academic excellence, and to adopt a mindset that helps them mature into productive and successful adults who empower and strengthen the communities in which they live and work, creates strong and vibrant neighborhoods. Economically self-sufficient and spiritually, psychologically, and emotionally vibrant neighborhoods create and strengthen thriving urban centers which, in turn, attracts new businesses, investors, and high-income earning young professionals and “empty nesters”; expands its base which simultaneously provides overburdened taxpayers with economic relief; and frees up capital which will be utilized to improve deteriorating infrastructures and operating systems.

Implementation of the SCI Graterford PA Lifers Public Safety Initiative will ensure that both the urban center and its “heart and soul” – its neighborhoods -- are equally strong and vibrant.

And that is why the SCI Graterford PA Lifers Public Safety Initiative is necessary.

No comments:

LET'S TAKE A DEEP BREATH . . . . . .

In turbulent and uncertain times and even in a world that seems to be operating from an "upside down" position, there is always...