Nonprofit focuses on mental health for Philly youth amid rising gun violence

"Recently, like three weeks ago, I got shot just walking to the store," teen Pablo Moore said.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A nonprofit organization in Philadelphia is encouraging communication and mental wellness in youth through a mentorship program.

The surging city gun violence this year has taken a toll on families, communities and youth. Young people are witnesses, victims and even perpetrators.

Ryan Harris, the founder and CEO of "As I Plant This Seed" in Strawberry Mansion, started the nonprofit in 2012.

"They got the guns and they are killing each other. It's not just a problem that is a parent to the child problem, but this is a community problem that's everybody issue," Harris explained.

"Talk to Me" is a mentorship program for middle and high schoolers who meet at the organization's 'Treehouse' weekly.

Topics change, but the focus is communication, mental health and the reliability of a trusted adult mentor.

"Give your kids a safe space. If you're not able to talk to them, give them somebody to be able to talk to," said 17-year-old Kai Freeman.

"If I do have something to talk about, I can come here. I can call Ryan, I can call any of the adult leaders here. I can call any of them and talk to them," said teen Pablo Moore.

Moore is a victim of gun violence. He was shot in his right hand.

"Recently, like three weeks ago, I got shot just walking to the store," Moore explained. "It's getting to be more every day, but I keep pushing through it because I'm alive so I'm grateful for something."

This experience has been overwhelming for Moore, who finds that talking helps.

He also tries to help others by sharing what he went through, hoping for change.

"If the people in the community don't stop leaning towards gun violence and start putting their guns down, putting them away, turning them in, if people in the community don't start doing that, it's never going to stop. Ever," Moore said.

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