Official Blog of the Education Exchange Corps

Friday, August 16, 2013

You Don't Need to Be a Superhero to Block Bullets

I know a kid who lives seconds away from where this teenager was shot last night
She saw the aftermath, emergency services. As far as she could tell, the teen was dead. He's not.

This isn't the first time one of my kids has been in the middle of chaos on the streets of St. Louis, and it probably won't be the last. These kids, who have no choice but to witness violence and death, go right back to school the next day.
That's just life. Some kids get shot. Those who survive can talk about it with their buddies at lunch. Or maybe they just won't talk about it at all. And those kids who are more likely to be exposed to such violence go to schools that can barely manage to educate half their students.

Add something else to the growing list of challenges schools and families have to deal with to give children a chance.

Those on the "outside" could just ignore these problems. We could relegate our involvement to reading five-sentence news articles about a shooting, pausing for a moment to take another sip of coffee, and then turn to the sports section to read about the Cardinals' latest extra-inning heroics.

This won't happen in my neighborhood, to my kids. 

                    But this is our city. These are our kids. This is our future.

I'm not a crime fighter anyway!

                    Maybe you don't have a cape or a mask, but you can fight crime. You can fight the brutal effect it has on the minds of its witnesses. You can give a person a reason not to give up and turn to crime. You can give a kid who thinks school is dumb a reason to come back the next day, a reason to want to do more than turn into the next unnamed shooter in a Post-Dispatch article.

How? You can volunteer with a bunch of different organizations in St. Louis. I know of a great one looking for volunteers right now.
And being busy doesn't mean you can't volunteer. You can meet with a kid on a weekend, talk about life, help them out with schoolwork. You can talk to kids on the phone or on Twitter. You can be a kid's person to talk to when no one else seems to understand.

But what we can't do is just sit there and wait idly for the next kid to get shot down on a street. Not for the sake of that child or the others who have to pass by his bleeding body on the way home.

Elad Gross is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Education Exchange Corps.

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