Street Smart Youth Project Inc. Fall 2017 Newsletter


Street Smart Youth Project Inc.

Fall 2017 Newsletter

6th Annual Rally for Prevention and Recovery

By: Florence Ukpai, MPH

The month of September served as National Recovery Month, and organizations all across the country joined forces to host events to celebrate the many living testimonies of persons in recovery or on the road to recovery. On Saturday, September 30th Street Smart Youth Project, Inc. hosted our 6th Annual Rally for Prevention and Recovery on the corner of James P. Brawley and Cameron Alexander Boulevard. The celebration brought together local English Avenue residents, community leaders, a number of service providers and the recovery community. From free health screenings and housing and job resources to a fun truck, bounce house and free giveaways, there was something there for everyone!

The 6th Annual Rally for Prevention and Recovery not only provided community support for those in recovery but also garnered the support of local service providers to provide healthy alternatives for youth and young adults in an effort to promote prevention. The goal was simple: uplifting and empowering the community toward health and wellness and promoting the benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for all. This years’ event emphasized the true essence of community and togetherness and proved that although all wounds are not visible, together we can and we will support one another!

This outdoor event featured presentations from adults in recovery, a motivational speech from youth leaders, and a call-to-action from community leaders encouraging residents to join in community efforts to address the issues of addiction in English Avenue. In addition, information regarding prevention, and treatment and recovery services were available to those who enjoyed the rally. Information about community resources were distributed by participating agencies providing services including addiction, mental health, youth services and homelessness.

Youth and adults were able to have fun while being provided with valuable information. Street Smart Youth Project provided a professional DJ, a children’s fun truck, bounce house, family activities, food, t-shirt giveaways and even a dance contest!

On behalf of Street Smart Youth Project Inc., we will like to thank our partners and the entire English Avenue community for helping us to put on a great event! Your participation in this year’s event was truly appreciated and we can’t wait to see all of you at next year’s Rally for Prevention and Recovery!

Street Smart Youth Project’s New Drop-In 

By: Jarrett Wilson, BA

On August 1st, 2017 the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony to our new drop-in center in collaboration with Atlanta Police Foundation’s @Promise Youth Center took place. This event was filled with community partners, stakeholders, government officials and many more. The state of the art center is a bold initiative with a mission to divert young people from having possible involvement in the criminal justice system. The @Promise Youth Center will be a place that will seek to get to the root causes of juvenile-behavior issues, and be a place to turn their lives around. This type of facility is one of the first of its kind, partnering multiple organizations dedicated to youth development. The grand opening was the start of a new journey, and a very prodigious event. SSYP will house its latest drop- in center within the @Promise Youth Center. Since 2003, SSYP has provided meaningful and impacting programming to the youth of English Avenue. Our drop- in programming provides youth development services via cultural, academic and recreational  enrichment, in addition to outreach and health and wellness services. We are proud to be the community based organization selected to be a part of this collaborative.  Our youth and community development approach will be enhanced through this partnership.

J. Grier, Mouhamed, Jeremiah, De’Zyer with Atlanta Hawks player Taurean Prince and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

Every month our drop-in offers new activities to keep our youth engaged. We proudly incorporate their wants and interests, which makes for youth driven programming. We expose them to many different activities, places, and things that they may have never experienced. By doing so we are able to model empowerment through change and opportunity, which ultimately will prepare and empower our youth for growth and healthy living as adults. When our youth arrive at drop-in between the hours of 3:00 – 4:00 pm, they receive help with their homework. During this time, youth also enjoy a snack, good vibes music, and an opportunity to work with a staff or independently. If youth do not have homework we offer worksheets in subjects they may need extra practice on or a book from our library to read.

Makilia enjoying her book during homework time. 

Monthly, we offer different programming to spark the interest of our youth, implementing different interventions and groups that are educational and useful. Passport month, mentoring sessions, looking good groups, and field trips are some of the activities that we offer every month. We also have other partners like Project Connect, which focus on tobacco and marijuana prevention. One of the big things we do at Street Smart youth Project is emphasize prevention regarding delinquency, substance use, teenage pregnancy and HIV. When our youth come in there condoms available at our sign-in table for them to take or distribute to friends and family who need them. Bi-weekly we conduct outreach, taking our youth into the community to pass out food and condoms, and to spread the word about prevention. We also offer HIV and STD  and substance use prevention programs, like BART (Becoming A Responsible Teen).

Jeremiah getting a fresh line-up during Looking Good Group.

If you are interested in music and arts, this is the place to be! During the first couple of months we’ve offered dance classes from King Quic, who taught our youth about dances from different cultures around the world. We have also offered music and photography classes, where our youth were able to create their own song and learn how to work a camera from behind the scenes with School Of The HeARTS.  V- 103’s DJ Jelly came in and taught our youth the art of being a disc jockey with the Scratch Academy. Exposing our youth to different outlets helps guide self-expression allowing them to identify some of their strengths, thereby creating healthy alternatives while tapping into future vocational interests.


Joie, Kaneesha and Makilia participating in Scratch Academy with DJ Jelly. 

Our new drop-in is located at 740 Cameron M. Alexander Blvd, Atlanta, Ga. 30318. We are open Monday – Friday from 3:00 – 7:00 pm. Come check us out!

Red Ribbon Week

By: Tempestt Johnson, MBA

Red Ribbon Week began after the kidnapping, torture and brutal murder of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in 1985. Agent Camarena had been working undercover in Guadalajara, Mexico for over four years. His efforts led to a tip that resulted in the discovery of a multi-million dollar narcotics manufacturing operation in Chihuahua, Mexico. The successful eradication of this and other drug production operations angered leaders of several drug cartels who sought revenge. As a result, they murdered key informants and then, on February 7, 1985, they kidnapped Agent Camarena and his pilot Captain Alfredo Zavala-Avelar.

After DEA Agent Camarena and Captain Zavala-Avelar were kidnapped, the DEA launched a massive investigation. The agents found local law enforcement were uncooperative. DEA Administrator Jack Lawn and US Attorney General Edwin Meese sought greater support from Mexican officials including the Mexican Attorney General but to no avail. Orders from US Customs Commissioner William von Raab effectively closed the US/Mexico border for days putting pressure on the Mexican government to assist.

Soon, representatives of the Mexican Federal Judicial Police (MFJP) presented a tip to DEA Agents claiming that Agent Camarena had been mistakenly kidnapped by a man and his three sons. The MFJP informed the agents that a raid of the man’s ranch in Angostura would take place the following morning and invited them to come. However, the MFJP raided the ranch before DEA agents arrived. During the raid, they shot and killed five individuals. Not long after, a passerby discovered the bodies of both Agent Camarena and Captain Zavala-Avelar by the side of the road not far from the ranch.

The DEA’s investigation revealed that Agent Camarena had been tortured extensively before he was murdered. Audiotapes of the torture showed that medical doctors actually kept Agent Camarena alive in order to continue the interrogation. Evidence collected revealed that both Agent Camarena and Captain Zavala-Avelar were initially buried in one location and then moved to the ranch where they were found.

The dramatic events that followed Agent Camarena’s disappearance were chronicled in national media. They exposed the dark world of drug trafficking including how far drug traffickers would go to maintain power and control.

In Agent Camarena’s home town, Calexico, CA, the public outpouring of support turned into an organized community response in which citizens dawned red ribbons. They became a voice for prevention in order to reduce the demand for illegal drugs and illegal use of legal drugs in America. The following year the California State PTA adopted the Red Ribbon Campaign. Then, in 1988, Red Ribbon Week was recognized nationally with President Ronald and First Lady Nancy Reagan serving as the Honorary Chairs.

Today, the Red Ribbon Celebration brings millions of people together to raise awareness regarding the need for alcohol, tobacco and other drug and violence prevention, early intervention, and treatment services. It is the largest, most visible prevention awareness campaign observed annually in the United States. Street Smart Youth Project, Inc. will be taking part in this initiative by showing youth the harmful effects of drug use and abuse, and showing them that they can live a healthy, drug free lifestyle. The activities we have planned for Red Ribbon Week will allow Street Smart youth to identify their values, learn more about the initiative, provide facts and consequences surrounding drug use, and identify alternative activities to drug use that promote a health and wellness.

Note: The above information is from:

Fall is here!

By: Mouhamed Bah, Youth Intern

The weather is getting cooler, and the leaves are changing and falling, which mean it is fall time! Just because Summer is over, does not mean the fun has to stop. There are many activities to do in the Atlanta area, especially with Halloween quickly approaching. Take some time to enjoy one of the following activities with family and friends!

Georgia State Fair

Georgia State Fair offers rides, shows, music, animals, and vendors at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton.

Pumpkin Festival

The Pumpkin Festival includes family shows, games, storytelling, kids’ activities, and a pie-eating contest at Stone Mountain Park. Open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Six Flags Fright Fest

Enjoy pumpkin painting & trick-or-treating in daylight, but beware of scary ghosts, ghouls, and zombies at night during Fright Fest at Six Flags over Georgia in Austell. Dates in 2017: Oct. 1, 6-8, 13-15, 20-22, 27-31.

Free Gospel Concert

“Gospel on the Green” promises performances from national and local gospel artists in the Amphitheater at Riverdale Town Center on October 7, 2017 from 4 PM to 7 PM.

Festival on Ponce

Festival on Ponce features fine arts and crafts, folk art, a children’s area, food trucks, and acoustic music in historic Olmsted Linear Park at N Ponce De Leon Ave NE. The festival is free and takes place on Oct. 14-15.

Halloween Festival and Parade

Enjoy food and drink, live entertainment, pumpkin carving, street vendors, and a 4 p.m. costume parade at Little 5 Points Halloween Festival and Parade. The event is free and will be October 21, 2017.

Art Festival

Brookhaven Arts Festival includes more than 100 artists, live music, a kids’ corner, and food vendors. This event is free and will take place October 21-22, 2017.

Boo at the Zoo

Boo at the Zoo is a Halloween festival with costume contests, treats, magical paths, decorations, music, and kid crafts at Zoo Atlanta. Head to the zoo October 21-22 or October 28-29 for some Halloween fun.

There are a variety of options and fun things to do during the fall time to enjoy yourself. Get out, have fun, and enjoy the weather!





Street Smart Youth Project Inc.
Street Smart Youth Project Inc.

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SSYP Annual Retreat
Details coming soon!!!

 Drop-in Center Hours & Location
Address: 740 Cameron M. Alexander Blvd. Atlanta GA 30318.

Hours: Monday-Friday, 3pm-7pm

Joie Phillips Highlighted

We would like to highlight Street Smart Youth Project member Joie Phillips for being an amazing performer at our 6th Annual Rally for Prevention and Recovery. Joie wowed the crowd with his performance of “All of Me” by John Legend.

 Street Smart Youth Project Documentary

Check it out and like on our YouTube page!! WATCH NOW

Dry Party Recap!
Street Smart Youth Project’s Annual Dry Party was a success! Many youth came out to party with us while being drug and alcohol free. Over 200 youth signed our pledge to be “Lit Off Life” and not off drugs and alcohol. We are committed to providing safe, alternative activities for youth in Atlanta, and are proud to say we accomplished that with the Dry Party. Check out our recap video HERE!



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