In February 2023, The Safer Schools Stronger Neighborhoods (3SN) coalition officially was formed to increase local coordination and collaboration between community organizations dedicated to reducing gun and community violence among youth and young adults ages 11-24 in the city of Chester. The coalition aims to provide a continuum of care, designed to help young people enjoy a fulfilling positive and productive life, by connecting them with specialized services and people who seek to assist and empower them.
Guided by CASA Youth Advocates, Inc. and under the coordination of Cyrise L. Dixon, 3SN is comprised of a cadre of long-standing community non-profit organizations. The 3SN partnership consists of Chester Education Foundation, Chester Community Coalition, Making a Change Group, Boys and Girls Club of Chester, Crozer Keystone Health Systems, and Widener University. Our other community stakeholders include the Delaware County Council, the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office, and the Chester-Upland School District.
This work is currently funded through a grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD).
Cyrise Dixon comes to Safer Schools Stronger Neighborhoods after a 42-year career in law enforcement. She began her career as a patrol officer for the Chester Police Department in 1978, where she worked alongside her father (to date they are the only father-daughter pair to serve for the Chester Police Department). She went on to hold various positions including a detective for the Delco Criminal Investigation Unit, special agent for the PA Office of the Attorney General, and Chief of Staff for the Chester Police Department. In November 2020, Cyrise was named Interim Chief Operating Officer for the city of Chester. She held that title until November 2022, when she retired.According to Cyrise, Safer Schools Stronger Neighborhoods is about more than stopping gun violence. The program will help young people get on a better path by connecting them with services and people who want to help and empower them.
“I have a lot of concern for the youth and the things they go through,” said Dixon. “It is a completely different world today than when I was growing up. My personal goal is to inform people so they know about the opportunities the program will put in front of them,” said Dixon. “A lot of times people can’t get connected to the resources they need. My hope is that this program becomes a model for how a lot of things are done.”
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CASA Youth Advocates is the organizational home of the Voices for Children Coalition. CASA recruits, trains, and supports community volunteers who serve as advocates for children in the foster care systems in Delaware and Chester counties. To learn more, visit our website at DelcoCASA.org.