Survive and Thrive

Local programs shaping safer, brighter futures for awesome kids in Philly 

It’s a sad fact that today’s kids might need to apply a tourniquet as much as solve a math problem. Neighborhood beefs, gang violence, and “internet banging” (taunts, disses, and arguments on social media between young people) too often lead to gunfire on city streets and in schools.

In the face of such persistent violence, organizations like the Institute for the Development of African-American Youth (IDAAY) fill a critical need by equipping today’s youth with crucial life-saving skills.

At a recent “Stop the Bleed” event they co-hosted with We Responders Inc., teens learned how to use their hands to apply direct pressure to a wound, pack a wound with dressings or cloth, and correctly apply a tourniquet. These vital techniques, necessary for stemming life-threatening bleeding from limbs, are a stark reminder of the challenges faced by today’s urban youth.

Founded in 1991 by S. Archye Leacock and a colleague, IDAAY’s true impact lies in its commitment to education, support, and nurturing a sense of optimism and empowerment in young people. Their initiatives focus on effective guidance, communication skills, self-esteem, leadership development, and community engagement, each designed to empower young individuals to build better futures for themselves and their communities.

C.E.R.C. center at IDAAY

Here are just a few of their programs and resources:

Community Evening Resource Center (C.E.R.C) — The center provides a variety of services to support at-risk youth. These include supervised structured activities, homework assistance, computer literacy programs, and non-violent gaming and board games. Additionally, C.E.R.C offers group discussions on community issues and educational workshops on topics such as conflict resolution and anger management. Mentoring, cultural enrichment opportunities, and family-centered activities are also key components of the program, all aimed at promoting positive social behaviors and improving educational outcomes. Open to all Philadelphia youth!

Main College Bound Program — This program prepares youth to graduate from high school and matriculate into the college of their choice. It focuses on general education tutoring and college preparation workshops (preparing youth grades 9th-12th to improve their performance on the SAT and ACT assessment).

Internships — Students gain invaluable experience in fields such as behavioral health, education and work readiness, marketing and communications, and computer technical support. Examples of higher education institutions that have collaborated with IDAAY in the past include Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, West Chester University, and La Salle University.

The Philadelphia Gaming Initiative (PGI) — PGI is a community-based collaborative between IDAAY, Action for Justice Collective, and New Journey CDC. It incorporates competitive gaming/esports as a diversionary strategy coupled with supportive services (e.g., life/social skills development, psychoeducational counseling, restorative justice programming, community engagement, career exploration, STEAM, etc.) to improve outcomes for youth identified as at risk of gun violence.

IDAAY training & internships

In addition to these and other great programs, IDAAY also regularly hosts special events in partnership with various community organizations. Volunteers and sponsorships welcome!  Contact IDAAY for more info, or reach out on social media to connect with a whole network of local support.

✔️📅 Mark your calendar for Saturday July 13th, IDAAY’s 2nd Annual Youth Palooza! All welcome for an unforgettable day of sports, games & giveaways. Free food & live entertainment! The fun starts at noon and lasts until 4pm. Tustin Recreation Center, 5901 W. Columbia Ave.


Founded in 1991, the Institute for the Development of African-American Youth provides educational and cultural programs, as well as treatment and social services for African American youth, their families, and the broader community. IDAAY strives to reduce the high level of violence and other social problems that disproportionately affect disadvantaged youth in the Philadelphia area.

With a comprehensive range of services and programs, IDAAY empowers and uplifts disadvantaged African American youth, fostering resilience and promoting positive community engagement. Please consider donating your time and/or resources.

2305 N Broad St. (+ other locations across the city)
(215) 235-9110 |
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