Nine months after a noble attempt to reverse violent crime in Philadelphia, organizers of 10,000 Men on the Street are taking another look at how to turn things around. The movement did produce 200 volunteers willing to help, but there was no enthusiasm to do Guardian Angel-type foot patrols in the worst neighborhoods.
That’s not the response organizers had hoped for after an impressive turnout at a rally last October that received lots of media attention.
Organizers now say funding and logistical problems hampered the project. They also underestimated the desire of volunteers to patrol the mean streets.
But all is not lost.
A survey of 2,000 potential volunteers said they were interested in serving as role models with troubled youth, as opposed to confronting armed and dangerous thugs on street corners.
Organizers are shifting focus from confrontation to the more conventional tack of mentoring and being role models for the kids with the goal, of course, to steer the kids in the right direction before they become a statistic. The assessment of the program so far is that some progress is better than no progress.
Mentoring the kids is half of the problem. Dissolution of the family unit, or no family at all, is the other.
related link: Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial