Friday, December 30, 2011

Support S.O.S. As You Bring In The New Year!

As 2011 draws to a close, we at SOS Crown Heights would like to thank everyone who has supported our work to end violence, both from the Crown Heights community and beyond. If you can help us with a contribution to continue our campaign against gun violence, please make a year-end gift today.

To make a monetary donation to S.O.S., please click here. Please make sure to select "Crown Heights Mediation Center" in the program designation dropdown menu.

If you'd like to make a donation by mail, please make your check out to our parent organization, "Fund for the City of New York" and mail it to the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center, 256 Kingston Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11213.

Thank you in advance for your support, and have a happy and peaceful new year!

The Crown Heights Mediation Center is a project of the Center for Court Innovation.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays from S.O.S.

Happy Holidays Crown Heights!

Wishing you and your loved ones peace in 2012. Cease the Fire. Increase the Peace.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Kingston Avenue Pizza Supports Save Our Streets

Local merchants in Crown Heights are doing their part to support the S.O.S. efforts to stop shootings in Crown Heights. Kingston Avenue Pizza, a longtime supporter of S.O.S. and the Crown Heights Mediation Center, a project of the Center for Court Innovation, is supporting S.O.S. in a new and unique way: by putting the S.O.S. logo on their pizza boxes.

News 12 came out to Kingston Avenue to cover the story. See the clip here, and order a medium-sized pizza to support the creative ways residents and merchants are working together to stop the violence. Plus, their pizza is delicious. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mediation Center's Year End Report

We’ve accomplished an incredible amount this year at both the S.O.S. Program and the Crown Heights Mediation Center.

Please enjoy our 2011 end of the year letter from the Mediation Center's director, Amy Ellenbogen.

2011 Crown Heights Community Center End of Year Letter

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Conflict Resolution Training Part 2 Tomorrow December 21st at 6 PM, and S.O.S. Goes Peace Caroling on Thursday December 22nd at 3:30 PM

Conflict Resolution Part 2: Wednesday, December 21st at 6 PM at the S.O.S. office (256 Kingston)

Last session we learned about the conlict escelator, the role of tone in escalating or deescalating conflict, and using "I statements" and detoxifying lanuage in our every day.

Join us this Tomorrow December 21st for the second part of our Conflict-Resolution Training. Marlon Peterson, coordinator of Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets (YO S.O.S.) will lead this session following the conflict-resolution model of the Anti-Violence Project (AVP).

S.O.S. Goes Peace Caroling! Thursday, December 22nd - Meet at 3:30 PM at the S.O.S. office (256 Kingston)

Supporters of S.O.S. will go caroling on Thursday to bring some holiday cheer to our streets, and continue to promote community and safety. We will be meeting at the S.O.S. office at 3:30 PM to practice, and then heading into the neighborhood at 4 PM.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kingston Winter Windows Kicks Off In Crown Heights

Youth Organizing to Save Out Streets will unveil their “Kingston Winter Windows” project tonight. With support from the Kingston Avenue Merchants Association (KAMA) festive storefronts have been designed and decorated by individuals ages 14 – 17 in an effort to beautify the commercial district and promote peace.

The youth organizers and merchants will convene at the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center at 430 PM, where they will distribute maps for a walking tour of the storefronts. The theme of the storefronts is “Peace in Crown Heights.” Following the tour, the group will gather with friends and family to celebrate their accomplishments and enjoy seasonal treats provided by KAMA.

DATE:    Monday, December 19th

TIME:     4:30 PM

PLACE:  Crown Heights Community Mediation Center
              256 Kingston Avenue
              Brooklyn, NY 11213-3435

  • E & S Dry Cleaners 105 Kingston Ave.
  • Arthurine's West Indian 115 Kingston Ave.
  • MS Design & Assoc. 131 Kingston Ave.
  • Crown Heights Development Corp. 254 Kingston Ave.
  • Crown Heights Community Mediation Center 256 Kingston Ave.
  • Kingston Pharmacy 1106 St. Johns Place
  • Magic Kingston Nursery School 275 Kingston Ave
  • Basil 270 Kingston Ave.
Celebration: YOasis  
221 Kingston Avenue
(Third floor of Church)

Kingston Winter Windows is a co-production of the Kingston Avenue Merchants Association (KAMA) and YoSOS (Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets). KAMA, with support from the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s Neighborhood Entrepreneurship Project (NEP), aims to assist merchants in accessing resources to grow their businesses and support a thriving business community. YoSOS is a youth development program that aims to empower young people to become community leaders and organizers.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What do you think it means to be safe in this neighborhood?

Come share your ideas and meet your neighbors!

For 10 weeks this winter, join your neighbors in using theater activities to explore what it means to be safe in the neighborhood along Franklin Avenue.

Free. All are welcome. No theater experience necessary.
"Safe in This Place" is a theater-based workshop series that will engage residents of northern Crown Heights - specifically the neighborhood around Franklin Avenue - in exploring the question: "What does it mean to be safe in this neighborhood?" It will culminate in a public event in March that will be designed by participants to share what we've discovered and extend the dialogue to more people in our neighborhood.

The workshops will be facilitated by three local artists who are trained in using theater and drama to engage groups in creative reflection and dialogue. The workshops will be offered free of charge to adult residents who live, work, and/or socialize on or near Franklin Avenue between Atlantic Avenue and Eastern Parkway.

Dates: Every Thursday from January 12 through March 15, 2012 (Participants are asked to attend all 10 sessions.)
Time: 7:00-9:30pm
Location: Georgia's Place, 691 Prospect Pl., Brooklyn, NY 11216 (corner of Prospect Pl. and Bedford Ave.)

There will be light refreshments at all the sessions.

No theater experience is necessary. Any interested adults (18 and over) are encouraged to attend. Join us!

For more information, please contact Julia at or 708-408-2004.

Safe in This Place is a research project of the M.A. in Applied Theatre program at the CUNY School of Professional Studies.

The project is being conducted with support from the Crow Hill Community Association.

More Photos of the S.O.S. Week of Peace, YO S.O.S. and the Virtual Shooting Response

Check out these photos by photojournalist Lauryn Gyrstle of the S.O.S. Week of Peace and YO S.O.S. own Virtual Shooting Response. 

L_Gerstle_yosos_20111128_1-96.jpgL_Gerstle_yosos_20111128_1-94.jpgL_Gerstle_yosos_20111128_1-91.jpgL_Gerstle_yosos_20111128_1-77.jpgL_Gerstle_yosos_20111128_1-74.jpgL_Gerstle_Autumn_in _NY_20111118_.jpg
October 20, 2011__Peace_March_SOS_181.jpgOctober 20, 2011__Peace_March_SOS_180.jpgOctober 20, 2011__Peace_March_SOS_167.jpgOctober 20, 2011__Peace_March_SOS_155.jpgOctober 20, 2011__Peace_March_SOS_153.jpgOctober 20, 2011__Peace_March_SOS_147.jpg

Monday, December 12, 2011

S.O.S. 101: Wednesday, December 14th and Conflict Resolution Training Part 2 Wednesday, December 21st

S.O.S. 101
Wednesday December 14th, 5:30-7 PM
S.O.S. office- 256 Kingston Avenue (between St Johns and Lincoln)

Join us to learn all about Save Our Streets Crown Heights, including the theory behind S.O.S., the different components to the program, community collaboration and upcoming events, and how all of you can help. Please RSVP to

Conflict Resolution Training Part 2
Wednesday, December 21st 6-8 PM
S.O.S. office- 256 Kingston Avenue (between St Johns and Lincoln)

Join community members and volunteers to learn some skills to resolve conflicts and help others resolve conflicts through communication, not violence.

Please RSVP and forward any questions to Eliana at

Friday, December 9, 2011

Violence Interrupters the focus of WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show

Crown Heights Mediation Center Director, Amy Ellenbogen, was featured on the The Brian Lehrer Show this week on WNYC  to discuss the S.O.S. program and the role of Violence Interrupters and Outreach Workers in stopping gun violence in Crown Heights. 

The show also profiled the work of another program that uses violence interrupters, Street Corner Resources in Harlem. Beloved a.k.a Dedric Hammond, a violence interrupter at Street Corner Resources was featured on the show as well as the subject of a story by WNYC reporter Cindy Rodriguez wrote that aired today.

Listen to the show below. Please consider making a make a year-end donation to S.O.S. To make a donation click here.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Interview: Christopher Dehaney

Christopher Dehaney started off as a high-risk participant in the S.O.S. Program over a year ago. At first he was very involved with the street life, but after working with our outreach team he started coming into the office regularly. With the assistance of our office staff and AmeriCorps volunteer Micah Weiss, Christopher put together a resume and got himself a job. He lost that job after a while, and was contemplating going back to the streets, but he remained focused on his goals and was able to keep himself out of trouble. Now he has a job working at JFK Airport and because of his demonstrated commitment to the program and the evidence of his changed mindset, Lavon Walker and the outreach team decided to graduate him from the program. Christopher's story is just one example of the effect that the Ceasefire model can have on the lives of high-risk individuals.

How do you feel as first graduate?

It’s an honor, never thought I’d be here. When I first heard of SOS, I thought it was crap. Being in there, I learned new things, and it helped me keep a job, so it was a blessing. I had a job when I came in but it helped me keep that job and prolong what I wanted into the future.\

What did you learn?

I learned that a community can be more than just a hood. We don't have to be out here shooting each other, for us to be killing each other just makes no sense.

What do you do to promote SOS?

With someone like my father, now he knows about the program, he can get in touch with SOS because I'm in touch with SOS. He has Lavon's number so he can sit down with him if he needs to talk.

How do you explain the SOS program to other people?

It speaks for itself. Listen to the word: SOS, Save Our Streets. That's so positive, you can't even imagine that there's so many things to be had in those words. Save: like in a video game, we're going to continue it. Our: it's not just me or you, not just one person, but a community. Streets: so that you can walk around, not having to look behind you or be afraid of being shot.

How do you change your community?

Sometimes you have to do more than just tell people what to do. For example, if you have a dollar, you can't just tell someone that that dollar bill is a dollar, you have to show them what that dollar bill can do.

What message would you like to share with other people?

Stay positive - for every bad thing there's going to be something good after all those bad things that happened to you. God is not going to put too much for you to bear in your life.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Recap: S.O.S. Volunteer and Community Discussion on Nonviolence

This past Wednesday, on November 30th, S.O.S. Volunteers and community members came together to discuss Martin Luther King's Six Principles of Nonviolence. But those participating in the discussion didn't know they were in for a surprise..

Before discussing the principles, participants made bread in the S.O.S. Office. The breadmaking was a community building exercise, in which everyone worked together to create something that they could enjoy with each other afterwards. The process of breadmaking spurred participants to talk about the "ingredients of community": the things that make a safe and healthy community.

While the bread baked across the street at Kingston Pizza, the participants split into pairs to read and discuss Martin Luther King's Six Principles of Nonviolence. The basic principles are:

1. Nonviolence is NOT for cowards but a way of life for courageous people
2. The Beloved Community is the goal
3. Attack forces of evil, NOT persons doing evil
4. Accept suffering without retaliation for the sake of the cause
5. Avoid internal violence of the spirit as well as external physical violence
6. The universe is on the side of Justice

After the discussion, participants broke bread together and took the principles home.

A warm thank you to Kingston Pizza for allowing us to use their oven.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Bed-Stuy's Project Re-generation Hiring Supervisors

Bed-Stuy's Project Re-generation is hiring a few Supervisors (with a driver’s license) for their Foot Soldiers program throughout the year and seasonal for snow. See this link for more info:

Here's a 1-minute video testimony from one of the program's students about why he values our program.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Two Employment Opportunities at D.R.E.A.M.S.

The D.R.E.A.M.S. Youthbuild program is committed to helping young adults become dedicated, responsible, educated, accountable, motivated and self sufficient, by assisting participants in obtaining their GEDs and securing full time employment in the areas of construction, health care, and technology. Along with our traditional YouthBuild Program, we recently were awarded an additional federal SMART grant to provide similar service to young adults ages 16 – 24 who are currently incarcerated, or have been released into specific census tracks in Brooklyn within the past year.

D.R.E.A.M.S. would like to hire a Senior Social Worker and Reentry Specialist.

For the job description for the Senior Social Worker, click here.
For the job description for the Reentry Specialist, click here.