Shawn, the Men’s Empowerment Coordinator with Make It Happen, sat down to share about his time with the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center.

Shawn joined the Mediation Center through a position with Make It Happen, a program that works to give young men between the ages of 16 and 24 who have experienced violence the tools necessary to overcome traumatic experiences, and enable them to succeed despite those experiences. Shawn heard about the work of Make It Happen when he was at school getting his Masters in Social Work. The work appealed to him, especially because he was born and raised in Crown Heights, the community in which Make It Happen is based.

At Make It Happen, Shawn is able to focus on the impact of community violence and toxic masculinity on the lives of the young men with whom he works. In talking about his work, he shared, “We understand that when violence occurs, it not only impacts the person. It’s two-fold, it impacts the person who committed the act of violence, while also impacting the person who is a victim of that violence too. That’s something important for us to understand, that you don’t have to be directly impacted by violence for it to have an impact on your life. Community violence affects us all because it has some type of influence on everybody. At Make It Happen, we’re able to help those who have been impacted by violence and help them heal from the trauma that they have experienced.”

Over the course of November, we’ll be using this space to highlight the stories of the Crown Heights Mediation Center staff, interns, volunteers, participants, and community members. If you’d like to share your story, please email or reach out to us on any of our social media platforms. If these stories inspire you to support our work, please visit our website,, to join us.