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Aerial panoramic cityscape of Philadelphia financial downtown, Pennsylvania, USA. Philadelphia City Hall Clock Tower at sunset golden hour. A vibrant business and cultural neighborhoods.

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As violence in the city increases, community leaders and teachers look to keep kids off the street and lure them into the classroom creatively.  This Philadelphia after-school initiative is looking for more kids to apart of their after school program ran by a local non-profit, After School Activities Partnerships, or ASAP.

“In every corner of the city and every school, there are brilliant young minds that are just looking for opportunities where they can test themselves,” said Justin Ennis, Executive Director of ASAP. “Any school that wants to have a strong debate program or a chess program or drama or scrabble program, they don’t have to do it alone,”

Iya Nealy, A high school senior at the Philadelphia High School for Girls, is a exemplary figure for the program and began to speak her high praises for the program. “Once I got into it, it was really like, I clicked immediately,” said Nealy. “And I’ve done it all four years in my high school career and now I’m actually judging. So that’s really cool.”

Students get to works their way up the ranks of seniority in the program from observer, to debator, to judge, but the children are also encourage to use these gained skills to compete in programs outside of ASAP.

School corridor

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Michael Kaimson, English Teacher and debate club sponsor, is excited for the future of the program and looks forward to more kids getting involved. “I would love to see more schools from the district involved. I would love to see more teams springing up around the city,” said Kamison. “I think what they learn here in debate is going to help them no matter where they end up.”

For more information on how you can get a child involved in the ASAP program, visit there website [HERE]