Safe Sounding Board

Leaning into crisis for answers and solutions. 

Gun violence, police brutality, climate crisis, global pandemic, political turbulence… Young people’s lives are being disrupted in ways that adults cannot imagine. Just trying to grow up has become more dangerous and unpredictable than ever before, each new catastrophe piling upon the other, leaving little opportunity for healing and reflection.

In September, local artists and educators teamed up for a feature blending self-expression with information on how we can help each other through these challenging times.


American children are just as likely to be killed by a gunshot as they are by cancer.
Firearms are the 2nd leading cause of death for Americans under 18 years of age, accounting for 15% of all child deaths.
Middle and High School kids are more likely to die from guns than any other single cause of death.
Every day 360 people are shot in the US; 106 of them die.
Every 16 hours, an American woman is fatally shot by her partner.
1 in 3 kids lives in a household that stores a loaded and unlocked firearm.
Black Americans are 10x more likely to be shot than white citizens.
Most gun violence occurs in less than 5% of a city’s neighborhoods, perpetrated by barely 15% of the population.
More than 75% of US homicides are shootings.
57% of Americans support stricter gun laws
97% American gun owners favor universal background checks
90% of guns used in crimes can be traced to 5% of gun dealers
80% of guns used in mass shootings were obtained legally
Americans purchased 17 million firearms in the first four months after COVID-19 broke out.
Today in the US there are 89 guns for every 100 citizens.
44% of Americans say they personally know someone who has been shot.
95% of young people say they feel silenced in the debate over finding solutions.


As a new school year begins, we have an opportunity to open doors and begin conversations that could potentially change lives. The skills and concepts provided here are grounded in trauma-informed therapy and liberation education (a humanistic approach to learning with emphasis on ethics and critical thinking):

  1. Provide a Safe Space – Create/support opportunities for caring adults and youth to come together: classes, workshops, field trips, community events, etc. Invite their feedback. Listen. Broach the subject of self-care and coping mechanisms. Ask what they think, and how we can help.
  2. Keep a Schedule — Maintain healthy routines like school, chores, mealtimes, lights out, etc. to provide a sense of normalcy and security.
  3. Foster the Process – Encourage young people to write, draw, cook, rap, compose or otherwise explore ways to connect with and reflect their feelings. Model good communication, practice “I” statements like “I feel < ___> when I think about <___>” or “When I feel <___>, what helps me is to  <___>”
  4. Show Empathy – When listening, interject often to repeat back what you hear. Ask clarifying questions: “How did that feel for you?” or “What does it mean to you?” Share from your own experience, if you can, and allow yourself to be vulnerable.
  5. Engage the Body — Whether it’s sports, dance, yoga, rock climbing, charades (!), any physical activity is a great way to “burn off” nervous energy and express feelings that might otherwise be hard to put into words. In addition, working the body is an empowering exercise that can inspire a young person to envision life beyond a traumatic event.

Kids today deal with an incredible amount of fear, pain and loss just trying to grow up in a violent, uncertain world. At the same time, they’re facing unrealistic expectations in school, at home, and from the communities that continue to fail them. We can help them address these complicated thoughts and emotions with these calm, sensitive, youth-centered approaches anyone can try.

About Creative Praxis: CP crafts innovative art-based, healing-centered trainings for youth, their leaders, and community members. The CP curriculum follows six humanistic approaches that encourage liberation-based education learning and achievement. For more information, see


I fell in love with freedom
She taught me how to love myself
Her beauty was my mirror
Her tongue was my voice
She taught me how to use my wings
made me feel safer to fly my way
I fell in love with spirit
She taught me to let go
That nothing really matters
Without me rivers would flow
She taught me to love balance
To laugh when life’s unfair
She taught me to be loud and proud
not precautious when they stare
She taught me a new love of learning

Inspired by life and love
Aspiring to health and wHEALTH
Growing in light

Be a part of our journey; let’s grow, heal and create together!

Follow @exhibitaartdesign on Instagram
Alisha Laws/Exhibit A Art Design
-Live Artist-Creative-Photographer-LCSW
(609) 346-2870

FRIDAY OCT 15, 5pm – 8pm

Do The Right Thing (A Spike Lee Joint)
1989/Rated R/2hrs
30th Anniversary Edition in stunning 4K Blu Ray
Historic Germantown/5501 Germantown Avenue (map)

Join your neighbors at Historic Germantown for a free showing of this monumental movie followed by a guided discussion with community partners and local media. Free pizza dinner plus information, resources and opportunities to talk things out and voice your opinions in a variety of ways. All welcome for a night of classic cinema and honest conversation.

Presented by:

Tabor Community Partners
Child welfare and behavioral health outreach with a focus on families as the foundation of our communities. TCP promotes networking, cooperation and sharing resources to benefit all. 57 East Armat Street 19144, 215-842-4800

Turning Points for Children
Responsible for the safety, well-being, and permanency of over 5,000 children and their families throughout the Lower Northeast, West, North Philadelphia and Southwest Philadelphia

WHYY/Revive Media’s P.O.C.
Tamara Russell aka Proof of Consciousness, or “P.O.C.” to her audience of 15,000+ unique listeners who follow her online and thru her broadcasts (including WHYY’s popular “Mad or Nah” feature).  A partner in WHYY’s innovative “News & Information Community Exhange” program, REVIVE reports with an emphasis on Millennial viewpoints centered in African-American culture.

(And your friendly neighborhood news team here at The Local!)

About The Local 155 Articles
The Local byline reflects community-created content (usually from social media, often from audio/video sources) that we've collected and edited into an article for our website/newspaper.

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