Philly nonprofit helping kids cope with trauma from gun violence after one of their own is shot

Christie Ileto Image
Tuesday, March 21, 2023
Philly nonprofit helping kids cope with trauma from gun violence
For West Philadelphia nonprofit Level Up, the city's ongoing gun violence hit close to home Monday when one of their own mentees was injured in a triple shooting.

WEST PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It's every adult's fear that one of their kids or mentees is hit by the ongoing gun violence in the city. For West Philly nonprofit Level Up, Monday's triple shooting hit close to home.

It's a harsh reality for Reverend Aaron Campbell, founder of Level Up Philly.

"I did a mass text yesterday saying 'Was anyone shot? Please text me ASAP' and within five minutes I got six or seven texts. I knew exactly who it was because he'd been to our program many times," said Rev. Campbell. "When something happens, I know that someone either knows the person or my biggest fear is that it's one of my mentees."

SEE ALSO: 13-year-old, two 16-year-olds injured in West Philadelphia shooting; nearly 70 shots fired

The nonprofit serves 600-700 kids through weekly programming and anti violence initiatives. While they are based in West Philadelphia, kids from all corners of the city attend.

Rev. Campbell says he spoke to the mother of one of the victims and that every time a shooting like this happens, he's tasked with helping his mentees deal with the aftermath.

"One kid this morning, he's in school. He said 'I just have my head down, and I'm trying to take my test, my end of the year test, and I can't even focus.' And it just breaks my heart," he said.

The nonprofit has programming every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday to help kids process these latest senseless shootings.

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