Following the murder of two children in South Jamaica, Queens in 2002, Erica Ford founded “LIFE Camp” with the support of local neighborhood residents. LIFE stands for “Love Ignites Freedom through Education.” The organization describes its mission as offering positive opportunities for adolescents to empower themselves through education and social awareness.
In 2012, LIFE Camp adopted the Cure Violence Model as one of its community-based safety programs to combat gun violence. LIFE Camp also sponsors the “I Love My Life” tour, which involves program staff members who visits schools and correctional institutions to promote self-love and nonviolence.
LIFE Camp enjoys local and national support for its Cure Violence efforts. Celebrity supporters include Russell Simmons, LL Cool J, and Deepak Chopra, who oversees monthly mediation sessions with the program’s participants.
The program organizes community engagement events and programs, especially focused on the use of the arts to facilitate engagement in nonviolent activities. LIFE Camp also co-sponsors the annual New York City Peace Week, along with Man Up, Inc., another Cure Violence-based program, and it organizes the Urban Yogis Program (UYP), providing yoga classes to residents of Baisley Park and training for youth instructors at area public schools.
LIFE Camp is currently working to add hospital responders to its Cure Violence program staff. They will be responsible for making contact with victims of gun violence in nearby hospitals. Hospital responders are an increasingly important aspect of the Cure Violence model, as victims of violence are often the prime “carriers” of the desire to retaliate through violence.
|Host Organization:||Life Camp|
|Contact:||K. Bain email@example.com|
|Staff:||Supervisors (3); Outreach Workers (4); Violence Interrupters (2); Hospital Responders (2)|
|City Council Member District(s):||Ruben Wills (28)|
|Adult residents living in poverty:||42%|
|Residents 15-34 years of age:||30%|
|NYCHA Communities:||Baisley Park Houses|
|Wrap-Around Service Partners:||Legal Aid Society, LaGuardia Community College Juvenile Justice Program, Mary Pender Greene, LCSW-R|