The Institute for the Development of African American Youth (IDAAY) seeks to empower and serve at-risk youth through a variety of different programs. Some of the organizations programs include a Main College Bound program, Don’t Fall Down in the Hood, Father’s United, and Intensive In-Home Supervision just to name a few.
The founder Archye Leacock, who began the program back in 1991, can identify with issues in the African American community and really has a passion for uplifting the youth. This non-profit organization, which is located on 56th and Chestnut Street, is important for the community due to the rising number of children growing up without fathers and getting incarcerated.
According to the National Center for Fathering, 57 percent of African American children,31 percent of Hispanic children, and 20 percent of Caucasian children are living without their biological fathers. Growing up without a father can have a major impact on the livelihood and direction a child will go in life. The National Fatherhood Initiative reports that children without fathers have a four times greater risk of living in poverty, are more likely to go to prison, and are two times more likely to drop out of High School. This is an example of why a program such as Fathers United is important for a community to have. IDAAY as a whole has touched and impacted not only those in the program, but those that work for the organization as well (see video below).
Another program that they offer Don’t Fall Down in the Hood, seeks to mentor and help juveniles headed toward a life of crime, realize that there is another path in life. The Crime Stat report for 2015 shows that there were at least 15 thousand violent crimes reported in Philadelphia alone. That number rises to 64 thousand total crimes in Philadelphia last year when you add in theft and burglaries. Out of the 2.3 million people residing in jails today, about 1 million of them are African Americans according to the NAACP.
These statistics offer evidence as to why Philadelphia and African Americans as a whole can benefit from programs like this one.
Images, Text, Video by Sharee Cole
On the weekend of October 2nd, 2016, hundreds of people came out
to enjoy a final celebration in memory of Alexander Wilson Elementary School. The school is set to be demolished in January of 2017 to welcome the new development of dorms for University of the Sciences freshmen .
The event included free food, a DJ, a band, and appearances by many political figures such as State Representative James Roebuck and City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell. Former students and faculty were also in attendance as well as folks who reside in the area and felt a connection with the school.
Current host on Sean “Diddy” Combs network Revolt TV and Temple graduate, Dj Damage, proves just how hard work and dedication pays off. At only 25, Damage has made a name for himself in the music industry by working with some of the biggest names in the business such as Meek Mill, Wiz Khalifa, and currently Diddy.
Born and raised here in Philadelphia, DJ Damage aka Abdul-Quddas Muhammad began mixing as early as 11 after realizing that pursuing rapping like his brother was not the path for him, according to an interview by Matt Hassoun. By the time Damage reached High School, he was reported to have already begun generating buzz and gaining attention from those in his city. Majoring in Broadcasting Telecommunications and Mass Media, Damage headed to college where he joined Temple’s WHIP radio station and from there, the possibilities were endless.
Djing for some of Philly’s top radio stations, making appearances on 106 and Park, and to his current hosting job on Revolt TV, Damage has definitely accomplished a lot in such a short amount of time. Getting the opportunity to reach out to Damage, I was able to gain a new perspective on how he handles his new fame. He agrees that most people lose themselves in the industry but he manages to stay grounded stating, “It is very easy to get lost. There are tons of factors that contribute to it. First factor is not truly knowing ones self. To be an entertainer, you must know what you stand for or you will fall for anything. It’s the fast lane and it is full of material poisons. I stay grounded because I stick to what makes me “me”. I refuse to compromise my integrity for fame. I am also aware that everything can be gone tomorrow and it humbles me”. Damage is not only humbled, but he also does not pretend as if the transition from radio to hosting came naturally to him. “It was a pretty good transition. I have live experience, which helps with live television. However, I did have difficulty reading on camera. It was a great learning process switching lanes.”
Damage admits that as a student of broadcast media, he always wanted to transition into being in front of the camera. Being in front of the camera however changes everything for a person. With the new fame, comes a new image that a person must uphold depending on their craft. Damage gives some insight on his opinion of fame and friendship stating, “In entertainment you grow out of old friends. I am from the inner city and some of my old friends are not necessarily good for my image. People change around you when they start viewing you in a bigger light. They sometimes become opportunist, and that can be troublesome. However, with being an entertainer, you gain new friends that understand the lifestyle and can relate.”
In a tweet on January 25, 2015, DJ Damage (@TheRealDJDamage) offers encouragement to those wanting more out of life, writing, “sometimes all you need is consistency. Find something you love to do and stick to it. I mean that’s what I did. Followed my dream”.