Philadelphia Police launch five-week youth empowerment program

    The Philadelphia Police Department is launching a five-week program for youth to encourage positive decision-making and community involvement. The program, a partnership with the School District of Philadelphia, behavioral health organizations and other private businesses, will end with a commencement ceremony for the more than 200 participants.


    The Community Health Enrichment Empowerment Resource Services program starts this Saturday at 9 a.m. and has four main goals:

    create self-worth through positive motivation
    provide youth with resources to contribute to society
    empower youth to make positive decisions
    enrich lives through community involvement and education

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    The youth participants come from five neighborhoods recognized as violent crime areas in the South, West, Northwest, North and Northeast. Community Relations Officer Gerri Doherty says the 8- to 17-year-old participants will be broken down into groups of 15, with about 45 students at each site. Groups of kids ages 8 to 10, 11 to 13 and 14 and 17 will work together.

    Some of the CHEERS criteria are a history of struggle with truancy and curfews and exposure to violence. Some participants have lost a loved one to violent crime, but all the students must attend every Saturday and bring a parent or guardian. Word was spread through local rec centers, fliers and small community publications, drawing willing participants.

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