PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Some in Philadelphia are finding creative ways to keep children safe and out of trouble amid rising gun violence in the city. According to city data, more than 90 people have been shot through Jan. 18 — six of those victims were children 17 years or younger.
Not included in that figure are two teenage boys who were hospitalized in a double shooting in Strawberry Mansion on Friday night.
“Instead of being in the streets all day doing violent things, they’re in here having fun,” participant Sijanae Thornton said.
Teenagers being able to just be kids is the goal of the New Option More Opportunity Foundation Violence Prevention Youth Concert and Day Party in South Philadelphia.
The event, called Stay Safe Saturday, comes on the heels of another violent week in the city.
Around 8 p.m. on Friday, a double shooting on the 2300 block of North 30th Street in Strawberry Mansion left two teen boys in stable condition at Temple University Hospital. Both a 13-year-old and 14-year-old were shot in their back.
This shoot was among many across the city, the number of homicides is higher than the days in the year.
Most cases remain unsolved.
“So just being a youth, just knowing some of those people are my friends, some of those people are aunts and uncles and also my parents are affected, it’s definitely upsetting,” participant Akayla Brown said.
“I’m definitely happy we got to all come out because if you were thinking where we would have been if we weren’t here. For some people, it would have been home studying. For some people it could have been something way on the other side of the good and bad scale,” participant Jovan Wilkinson said. “So I’m definitely glad we got the opportunity to get together and do something more fun than what we could have been doing.”
“Stay Safe Saturday is designed for youth to be able to come out on a Saturday, spend the whole day with NOMO and we know that they’re safe, sound and secure. To have fun, to be able to be kids again,” NOMO Executive Director Rickey Duncan said.
NOMO plans to throw this event for free every Saturday for the next year.
The money from the event partially comes from the mayor’s office.