Philadelphia Anti-Drug, Anti-Violence Network and UAC’s Youth Division Tackle Crime in Philadelphia

June 3, 2013


UAC Program Partner Philadelphia Anti-Drug, Anti-Violence Network (PAAN) and Director of UAC’s Youth Division, Farrah Samuels-Alexander, were featured in Philadelphia's Region’s Business Journal to discuss the ongoing violence in Philadelphia. In the article, “How Safe is Philadelphia?” Alexander and Michael Harris, Director of Field Operations at PAAN, shared their experiences working with youth and families to help solve problems and reduce crime in the city.

Serving in a leadership role at PANN, Harris reaches out to youth headed on a destructive path to improve their lives. PANN uses street-based community outreach and intervention programs to decrease the crime and prevalence of drugs in neighborhoods. PAAN hires people from some of the most problematic neighborhoods to serve as leaders and build relationships with the young people and families who live there.  They have managed to successfully retrieve over 6,000 handguns and rifles as well as provide mentoring and case management to more than 300 youth.  In addition to PAAN, Harris manages the Youth Violence Reduction Partnership (YVRP), an organization dedicated to working with youth offenders. Harris aims to lower the recidivism rate by providing mentoring and counseling to the previous offenders.

In her role as UAC’s Director of Youth Division, Farrah Samuels-Alexander works with youth to prevent their previous mistakes from turning into a pattern of bad behavior. UAC's Youth Division provides summer employment and work experience opportunities, access to quality school choice options, as well as violence prevention and mentoring programs.  “One mistake at 15 should not label you and determine the outcome for your entire life,” Alexander states in the article. Alexander’s solutions to improving Philadelphia neighborhoods include funding prevention programs and also understanding the needs of the neighborhoods in order to give them the proper resources.

With Philadelphia’s homicide totaling 331 at the end of 2012, it is important for organizations such as PAAN and UAC’s Youth Division to remain in the neighborhoods and change the mindset of the youth in order to make a significant impact on the community.

 To read the full article published in Region's Business click here