Healthcare professionals are in nearly universal agreement that the most effective method of counteracting avoidable medical illnesses is preventive healthcare. Preventive healthcare, as opposed to treating an existing illness, focuses […]
Healthcare professionals are in nearly universal agreement that the most effective method of counteracting avoidable medical illnesses is preventive healthcare. Preventive healthcare, as opposed to treating an existing illness, focuses on assisting patients with ways in which they can improve their overall health in order to avoid preventable diseases.
I view the mission of EYEJ as “preventative education.” We give teens and pre-teens the opportunity to voice their opinions and talk openly about their reality, while connecting them with community and civic leaders who can positively change their environment. Many of Cleveland’s youth feel as if they are victims to their neighborhoods. While acknowledging their reality, we also embolden them to feel empowered by their surroundings and encourage them to talk about ways to cause real change.
The statistics surrounding gangs and related violence in our communities are shocking. While there are numerous organizations and activists working hard to turn gang members and former gang members lives around (and I applaud them for their hard work), I believe reaching students before gangs have actively recruited them ultimately leads to a much higher probability of slowing down the student to prison pipeline. By teaching children to value their lives and their community outside of the sphere of gangs and related crime, we aim to break the cycle that so many of our students and neighborhoods fall victim to.
“Preventative education” relies not only on the students willingness and drive to break the cycle of violence and poverty that is overwhelming many of their neighborhoods, but also on the over 350 volunteers that EYEJ relies on school year after school year. Our volunteers dedicate their time, resources, and diverse life experiences in order to reach our cities youth. Gangs, violence, and other prominent challenges to Cleveland’s teen and pre-teen population are all “preventative diseases.” Our students are strong willed, intelligent young men and woman. With the right guidance and education, they will feel empowered to make true social and economic changes to their environment.
EYEJ Board Director – At-Large
Vice President – PNC Wealth Management
Are you helping to prevent the diseases our youth face? You can start by simply getting to know EYEJ or volunteer to be a Speaker, Facilitator or Coordinator in our Discussion Series – a safe and open environment for adults and youth to together figure out solutions for achieving social justice.