In response to a disturbing trend of young people being killed and assaulted in Deanwood, IDEA Public Charter School was a host site for Man the Block, a city-wide event to raise awareness and community involvement in creating safe passages for youth to walk home from school. Five Peace Fellowship Church members were able to attend this first of hopefully many such events. Sadly, this day coincided with one of the most violent in recent DC history, with 5 people shot and 2 killed earlier that day throughout the city.
About 300 students attend IDEA and most walk either home to nearby neighborhoods or to the Deanwood metro station. Volunteers at the Man the Block event were given the opportunity to greet students as they exited the building. In the future, volunteers will be stationed along common routes, for this event the Assistant Principal really wanted students to see and meet the community members who came. For those from Peace who attended, it was an opportunity to meet young people in our community and to hear first-hand about some of the violence students face. Each volunteer was paired with a student to introduce them to others and to ask questions of. Many students fear walking to and from school.
Students at the school are mobilizing a community cook-out in the coming weeks to raise more awareness about Safe Passages. Those from Peace who attended this event expressed a unanimous desire to find more opportunities to support this vital effort.
“It was encouraging to see just how friendly and engaged the students were. I was impressed with the Assistant Principal’s commitment to using kindness to disarm potential threats.”