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Balling Against Gun Violence Basketball Game Set for April 15

From a press release

Urban Navigation and Men of Action Brothers of Faith Inc. are hosting a Balling Against Gun Violence event at the Darby Recreation Center on Saturday, April 15, from 2  to 6 p.m. This will be the third basketball event Urban Navigation and Men of Action Brothers of Faith Inc. hosted.

Men of Action Brothers of Faith began in July 2010. It started as a twice-a-month get-together with five men who decided to talk and share family, work, and life experiences in a safe haven where they could speak freely and confidentially, offer counsel, and encourage each other. Born out of a Delaware County barbershop, a group of men forged a brotherhood that has evolved into a non-profit organization focusing on mentoring, education, and community improvement events. To date, they have created everything from STEM events for children to volunteer community events.

In an ongoing effort to improve the quality of life in the communities in which we live, hosting a sit-down dinner every Thanksgiving and feed up to 200 people yearly. The diverse events have included hosting interactive mentoring luncheons to free computer workshops. The organization also adopts underprivileged families during the holidays and provides toys for children and food for the families.

Urban Navigation is a community organization developed to help reduce inner-city, and suburban gun violence. Urban Navigation connects with all youth through their interests to engage them towards better lives while reducing crime and improving environments. The methodology serves as a “GPS” for the inner city plus suburban youth to build successful and productive violence-free lives.

“We hope to see a lot of community members at this event. Our groups enjoy hosting these gun violence prevention events every chance we can,” said Hameen Diggins, president of Urban Navigation and Men of Action Brothers of Faith.

“It is a great thing that we are hosting a gun violence prevention event. We need Black support in our communities amongst our own,” said Urban Navigation founder Don Jackson.

Alim Howell, Urban Navigation Community liaison, said, “Having events like this every year is a good thing, especially in our current world society where a lot of violence is happening. The youth who participate will remember these events and it will leave a good memory into adulthood.”

This will be a free event at the recreation center, 1022 Ridge Avenue in Darby, for all people of all ages. Food and entertainment will be included.

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Sowing the Seeds of Peace One Relationship at a Time

From a press release

Making peace comes from relationships.

On September 14thNorristown Fire Department Chief Thomas O’Donnell and Urban Navigation Founder Don Jackson met at the Montgomery Hose Fire Station. The meeting was held to discuss the violence happening throughout Montgomery County and Philadelphia that has taken the lives of so many young people and what can be done to help. They also brainstormed ideas on how to get more youth involved with Urban Navigation and local fire departments.

“I understand completely about the violence plus crime crisis happening throughout our county and our City of Philadelphia. Hopefully, it gets better in the future,”  O’Donnell said.

Urban Navigation provides experiences and training with the youth. Technical skills, entrepreneurial mentorship, life skills training, additionally providing mentorship and guidance to ATV/dirt bike riders.

Experiences through Urban Navigation are going on to local streets giving information to all youth about their lives not being in jeopardy. Showcasing youth with no guns or criminal activity actions being involved. Training and mentorship can  also be provided at  Billy Penn Studios.

This studio accommodates a platform for creative minds. Such as having podcasts, office space, media music studio, virtual reality facility, or rest area. The purpose of Urban Navigation is for people who want to make changes. Urban Navigation is a haven for all youth no matter the gender.

The mission of the Norristown Fire Department is to save lives and protect property through prevention, preparedness, education and response. The department also has a Junior Firefighter Program. The program allows young men and women to become firefighters at the age of 16. The department welcomes those of all ages that are interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter or who are willing to assist with administrative duties.

“The meeting was a productive meeting, mainly trying to compare all the issues that happen in Norristown and Philadelphia. Outcome is that all counties can benefit from Urban Navigation. Firefighters and the youth should collaborate more often. Either through school visitation or at events. The big picture is that the youth would appreciate the outreach in the long haul,” said Jackson.

“Having the Fire Department involved with youth is a good thing. Firefighters can bring a different perspective plus approach for community outreach. When I see firefighters and youth engaging with one another at events it is a good time. Fire Departments and Police Departments together as one unit have an even stronger impact to leave a positive impression on our youth” said Alim Howell,  Urban Navigation liaison.

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Urban Navigation: Helping to End Youth Violence in DelVal Communities

Kids are shooting kids.

In Philadelphia, the 2021 murders were the highest in decades—562. And as of Feb. 10, 55 people have been murdered this year. People point fingers at city officials and the state legislature, the police, and the schools. But who is doing something to help?

Enter Urban Navigation.

This new organization, founded by Don Jackson and Hameen Diggins, is stepping up to get kids on the right track and keep them there. Already operating in Philadelphia, they are in talks with the City of Chester, Collingdale, Upper Darby, and Ardmore to bring Urban Navigation to the suburbs.

Jackson, a founder of the Philadelphia Technician Training Institute, said the technical school is for students 18 and older and teaches them skills to get good-paying jobs.

Don Jackson (left) and Hameen Diggins

But with the rising crime rate, he decided that younger kids needed guidance and to learn some skills, too.

“There’s a rise in all the gun activity,” said Jackson. “So what we did was we started looking at younger kids, and what we understand is getting to them while they’re still at the stage that they haven’t graduated to the next level of stuff.”

Urban Navigation teaches kids technical skills, like fixing their bicycles, fixing small motor machines like dirt bikes or ATVs, and gun safety.

“You know, they’re riding down the street, doing wheelies or whatnot, and kids are very much into bicycles,” he said. “Just peddling, 50 kids peddling.”

Jackson said they have also worked to get groups of young ATV riders that plague Philadelphia streets into areas where it is safe and legal to ride those vehicles. They use “media, music, videography…everything that basically attracts our youth. And social media. We developed a virtual reality platform.”

“We give them conflict resolution training,” said Jackson.

Diggins said, “We saw the need when it came to the youth culture, to give them a voice. So we knew how to help them.”

Diggins’ own experiences of being raised in foster care and group homes help him relate to the underprivileged kids, he said. He survived a difficult childhood and is now a nurse, a photographer, a DJ, and a certified life coach.

“Gun violence is out of control,” said Diggins. “We give them a reason not to shoot, to give them an alternative by having gun safety education.”

The kids already have guns, he said. “We focus on the value of life. We have to give youth a reason not to shoot each other. If they value themselves, they value others.”

“There is a lot of misplaced anger,” Diggins said. “We try to give them a different way to look at things.”

“A lot of this is them trying to be seen,” he said.

Urban Navigation has programs for kids from 8 to 19.

If their parents are not present in kids’ lives, through dads abandoning the family or mothers on drugs, “the street becomes the parent,” and the kids join gangs. Urban Navigation combats that by offering positive activities, he said.

Learning to fix things is helpful. The kids then “understand their hands can be used for a lot more than violence.”

Jackson said, “We deal with a lot of trauma in these young kids. They’re going through broken homes. They got a single parent; maybe one of their parents passed away. They got an older sibling getting ready to go to jail.”

“We want to teach these kids how to be productive citizens,” said Jackson. “We involve them in after-school activities. We’ll teach you how to repair the power sports, as well.

Jackson said they’ve invested $200,000 of their own money to get the nonprofit, up and running. To keep the kids safe, all of the adults working with them go through criminal background checks.

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