Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets (YO S.O.S.) is the youth mobilization arm of S.O.S. and a leadership development program for teens who want to take a stand against violence. The YO S.O.S. 2015 cohort is comprised of 24 young people in grades 9-12 from nine different schools across Brooklyn. The group meets every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:45-6:00pm from October through May.
The first part of the program year focused on building positive group dynamics and introducing youth to the key information and skills necessary to be organizers against violence. Included in this phase of the program were workshops on conflict escalation and deescalation, trauma and self-care, understanding causes and consequences of violence, power and oppression, community organizing tactics, leadership styles and much more!
Now that youth have built their skills and knowledge base, they are taking it to the streets! YO S.O.S. just completed their first campaign, Kingston Winter Windows. The Winter Windows project requires the youth organizers to connect with local business owners and produce holiday and peace inspired art installations on storefront windows along Kingston Ave. The youth organizers took the lead on all aspects of the project from pitching it to merchants, to developing design ideas, to implementation. In total, YO S.O.S. decorated 15 storefront windows along Kingston Avenue! Window displays will be on display through Jan 5. We invite you to take a stroll up Kingston Ave from Eastern Parkway to Dean to view the youth organizers’ work and support local businesses!
Thank you to Kimberly Houston for photography, Sarah Brown and Micah Weiss for volunteering to work with the youth, Rev. Ken Bogan for opening his church to YO S.O.S. for a workshop, and to Pilar Belendez-Desha, David Meade, and Alexis Goldberg for filming and interviewing youth organizers!
And of course, thank you to all participating businesses and storefronts!
- Crown Heights Community Mediation Center
- Beauty Zone
- Eyeglasses 99
- Magic Kingdom Nursery
- Food Corp
- Fine Fare
- Kingston Pizza
- Hazel’s Golden Comb and Unisex Barber Shop
- Mimosa Floral Design Studio
- Stop 4 Deli
- Mai Discount Store
- Quirsi Beauty Parlor