Bronx Students Survey Peers About Violence Then Create Safety Plan

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On Wednesday, May 15, a group of young leaders from the South Bronx convened “Keep Calm and Stop the Violence,” a forum on safety and violence to engage their peers, community leaders and elected officials in a conversation about safety concerns and to present recommendations from a recent community survey.

With the help of their principal and community school director, members of The Children’s Aid Society's Youth Councils—comprised of elementary and middle school students in the Bronx—developed the forum to bring a student voice to the conversation about the violence plaguing the Morrisania neighborhood. These eager young community organizers met on school vacation days to develop and conduct a survey to assess the major safety issues troubling their peers.

Results from the survey of over 200 participants show that drug-related activity in the streets and bullying in school and are among the top safety concerns of students in the community. Using these findings, the youth have developed a set of recommendations to improve safety and reduce violence, which include increasing street lighting and police presence along Southern Boulevard, finding better use for vacant lots in the neighborhood and developing youth employment and internship programs.

Participants also filmed a video that highlights these concerns, using testimony, poetry and dance. The video debuted at the forum.

Read a story about this project from DNAinfo.com, where you can click a link to watch the video.