Kendra Van de Water

Kendra Van de Water lives with the belief that challenging oppressive systems creates sustainable change. Her life’s work is to improve the quality of life for people on all levels, starting with communities. As a licensed social worker, Kendra’s expertise includes local, state, and national work on improving conditions of confinement, law enforcement oversight, policy and program implementation, violence reduction, and improving how Philly responds to homicides and provides services to city residents after violent tragedies.

In response to existing youth organizations not willing to address community issues based on the needs of the individual, specifically for teenagers, Kendra co-created Youth Empowerment for Advancement Hangout (YEAH Philly), a nonprofit focused on empowering teens and young adults in Philly who have been impacted by violence. YEAH is a sustainable movement utilizing teen power to ultimately reduce neighborhood youth violence through community investment and programming implemented to specifically address the needs of teens and young adults on their terms. YEAH focuses on a variety of services to improve the lives of teens who need it most, especially those who live in underserved and underinvested neighborhoods. Through peer led mediation and conflict resolution, civic and community engagement, and economic opportunities, YEAH empowers teens and young adults to be themselves and thrive in their own communities.

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