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Don’t Shoot the Messenger

“Coach, can you come pick me up for practice?” The request wouldn’t be so outlandish, except that Jerome lived on the same street as the gym. 

It’s also the street Jerome watched his best friend get killed by the gang who runs his side of the street.

7 gunshot wounds pronounced him dead at the scene. 

The same gang that killed his best friend now had his number. Their request was clear: for Jerome to be the messenger between the two gangs occupying his street. 

“Don’t shoot the messenger” doesn’t apply here. 

If he delivers the message, he will be killed for being the messenger. If he doesn’t, he will be killed for not being the messenger. To leave his house would mean risking his life. But he’s been in hiding for days and needs out. 

Call it pre-season or his warm-up, but Jerome sprinted his fastest dash-to-date down the hill and through the doors of Street2Street.  

Inside the four walls of Street2Street he finds safety in his community. It’s his sanctuary. A place he can play basketball with friends, get help with his homework and be mentored by his coaches.  

He’s a different kid here. More relaxed. He doesn’t check his back because he knows we will always have it.  

At Street2Street, he’s a 15-year-old boy who’s allowed to be a kid again. 

And week after week he shows up, in record time. 

Until they all Play, Belong, and Matter.

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