Group of dads volunteer to help students get home safely after school amid growing gun violence

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Everyday, a group of volunteers known as Frontline Dads come to E.W. Rhodes school in North Philadelphia to provide a safe passage to students after the last bell.

"We come about 2:45 p.m. - about 15-20 minutes before they start dismissal," said Reuben Jones. "We all take a post. Basically, we just will be a visible presence, a visible deterrent to any negative violence."

Last month, a student was shot to death on his way to class. Police say he was an innocent bystander.

"It's a K-8 to school, so when a 13-year-old gets murdered on his way to school, that's a problem," said Jones.

RELATED: Shooting leaves 13-year-old dead in North Philadelphia, prompts school lockdown

Days after the shooting, Frontline Dads called on parents and community members to volunteer - not just as Rhodes, but other schools in hot spots for crime. Right now, they do this at six schools in the city.
"I believe the community has role to play amid all the chaos going on with gun violence, so I think this is a good example of community involvement," said Jamal Johnson.

The Frontline Dads make sure they are engaging with students, while also being an extra set of eyes and ears.

'We can make sure the kids cross the street safely. We can make sure the kids exit the build safely and they go home," said Jamella Muhammad with the Philadelphia Anti-Drug, Anti-Violence Network (PAAN).

The organization says they are looking for more volunteers and they also do a lot of work with at-risk teens.

In October, they took a group of kids to a Meek Mill concert and earlier this year, the Philadelphia Eagles granted them $20,000 through its Social Justice Fund.
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.