Youth Whom We Lost to Gun Violence
On behalf of All of Us at A Safe Haven Foundation, and the One Summer Chicago Plus Group, we are truly saddened by the loss of many young lives this past weekend in Chicago.
It is with a heavy heart that we share that one of the youth participants in A Safe Haven Foundation’s One Summer Chicago Plus Program was a victim of the gun violence in Chicago this past Sunday, August 5th, 2018.
We are sincerely sorry for her family’s loss and thank them for allowing her to be a part of our extended A Safe Haven family of youth participating in this empowering summer youth mentorship program. She was 17, a Junior in High School, and made the bright choice of applying for this enriching summer opportunity.
This exemplary young lady will always hold a special place in our hearts and minds as one of the kindest and promising young people in our community who spent her last days with us learning, working, giving back and making a difference.
A Safe Haven Education Director, Tina Raymond Carter, explains that OSC+ is designed to give youth the opportunity to develop in a safe workplace and establish strong work ethic, and gives youth opportunities to be comfortable being themselves and to shine. It gives them a chance to develop socially and emotionally within that work environment- a space to show off their talents, to be themselves and to learn how to thrive and overcome challenges in any environment. She was a shining student.
Ms. Carter shared, “The ASHF leadership team and mentors knew that they could count on her, because she always came to work on time and was always very helpful to her fellow One Summer Chicago Plus participants, and many had become friends.”
Although their time working together was cut far too short by this unexpected tragedy, it didn’t take One Summer Chicago Plus teacher, Ms. Bush, or anyone else, much time to know that this stellar young lady “had a contagious smile that reflected her positive and joyous outlook on life. She was hard-working and had a personality that befriended others, easily. She was already planning on working beyond the OSC+ program and she encouraged youth co-workers to strive to be their best. Although she was reserved, quiet and never complained, she made her presence known, and was ready to do her part and always did her best and met the assigned work expectations with a smile.”
This special teen will be missed and never forgotten by all of us on the A Safe Haven team who knew her and even those of us that didn’t know her. She was one of us for a time, and her story will now strengthen our resolve, at A Safe Haven, to continue to do our part to heal many of the root causes of crime and violence and make this a safer world for all.
Our hearts and prayers go out to her mother, family, friends and those who surrounded her, and to all parents who have lost a child to the streets and/or violence in Chicago this weekend and throughout the years, and may God Bless them with the strength and courage they need during this difficult time.
Neli & Brian Rowland, Co-Founders of A Safe Haven
& the Entire A Safe Haven Education Team & Family