Local teen opens resource center for kids to escape Philadelphia violence

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Tuesday, December 7, 2021
Local teen opens resource center for kids to escape Philadelphia violence
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19 year old Akayla Brown has opened a resource center for kids escaping the violence on Philadelphia’s streets.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- She won the prestigious Bill Gates Scholarship earlier this year, has been featured on Essence.com, and she started her own business at the age of 13.

And now 19-year-old Akayla Brown has opened a resource center for kids escaping the violence on Philadelphia's streets.

"We're now able to have our safe haven for all of our youth to come, be able to be mentored, get their space and just be somewhere where they can come to do their homework," she said.

The 3500 block of Haverford Avenue has become a second home for dozens of area students.

Through private donations, grants and her own money she saved over several years, Brown says the Dimplez4Dayz resource center is a labor of love.

"I'm 19 years old. I have to give back to my community. If not me, who is going to do it?" she said.

It's no secret the now Howard University freshman has been active in her community, specifically speaking out about the gun violence in her Southwest Philadelphia neighborhood.

With the help of her family, she's now running the only youth-founded, youth program in the city, and hopes to keep the kids she calls "dreamers" out of shot from the continued violence.

"Even though they might be on the PS5, they might be on the computer playing a game, I know they're not being shot. I know they are learning," said Brown.

And you're probably wondering when does Brown have time to run programming? When she's at school, her parents and extended family members step in, but she comes back at least twice a month and on holiday breaks.

She says the resource center has about 40 kids right now, with a waitlist of 120 people.

Brown's hoping to get approved for the city's anti-violence grant money to help expand her program.

For more information, visit: Dimplez4Dayz.org