Community Action Association of Pennsylvania
Spotlight On Berks County Action Program
"Teen Takeover" To Combat Youth Violence
Berks County’s, Stephan Fain, is a Champion for Youth Advocacy in his Community: To combat teen violence happening in his city, Stephan Fains, Berks County Action Program's Community Outreach Coordinator, partnered with the Olivet Boys and Girls Club, and interested community partners, activists, and parents to create a program called Teen Takeover. After two teen girls were shot locally, killing one of them, the community held forums talking about what should be done. Wanting to see immediate actions be taken, Stephan reached out to OBGC’s Deja Harris, VP of Operations, and CEO, Chris Winters, to discuss ways to solve the teen violence problem.
After Stephen’s idea was approved, they started by gathering teens on Saturdays from 11 PM - 4 PM, with OBGC providing the facilities and BCAP, the food. Any teens from Berks County looking for a fun, safe place to go were officially welcomed. Jordan Rodriguez, Director of the Year at the Olivet Mulberry Unit, joined the effort by providing weekly Teen Takeovers at rotating Olivet locations. This amazing team developed their own programming that provides teens the space for a free, fun day. Teens continue to come and go as they please, within some structure, playing basketball, enjoying the computer lab, helping with cooking in the kitchen, or just hanging out in the game room. They are truly free days to do as they please
Today, 50 to 100 teens show up every Saturday, with increasing volunteers from the community volunteering to dive in with support – see this month's Agency's Spotlights to read the full story about BCAP's Teen Takeover.