New Start Foundation Inc. a non-profit organization located in Philadelphia PA was formed in 2006 to assist juveniles and ex-offenders returning home to the community with services needed to become law abiding and productive citizens. Paythia Jenkins, Executive Director and Founder vision was to deliver a holistic approach to various services that included employment, mentoring, cognitive skills and forming successful partnerships that would aid this hard to serve population to deter from criminogenic behavior.
Always ready to embark on an innovative initiative, in 2007 when Philadelphia Police Officer Charles Cassidy was shot and killed by a 21 year old black male at the Dunkin Doughnuts in the West Oaklane section of Philadelphia Ms. Jenkins decided more was needed to reach high risk males between the ages 14-24. She elatedly implemented a program called “Project Build Up." to build relationships with youth, law enforcement agencies and the community.
Project Build-Up (PBU) Image Development Mentoring Program used the techniques of modeling and fashion to enfold youth & young adults in our community with a sense of personal accomplishments and self-worthiness through individual development in pursuit of educational & career goals, positive social interactions, healthy relationships and money management. Law Enforcement Agencies and other Community Partners join youth in workshops, photo shoots, culture & recreational events throughout the City of Philadelphia.
THEN IT HAPPENED- In 2008, New Start Foundation was directly effected by violence when a former police officer Ernest "Flash" Miller and volunteered with the youth program was shot and killed in his home three days after Christmas.
"The kids in the program adored him. He gave into their every wish. As a photographer and videographer for the Image Development program there was never a bad day around Flash, whenever you were in his presence he made you laugh and smile” and he spoiled all the youth involved, whatever they wanted he tried his best to make it happen! He never wanted to disappoint any of them" states Paythia, Executive Director.
Flash’s murder took energy and drive from her beyond her control. Due to his brutal murder the youth program was canceled. Nonetheless, Paythia did not give up three months after Flash’s murder the Artists against Violence were created thanks in part to two people Bomani Da Poet (co-founder) and Pamela Knight (songstress) who helped come up with the concept and name to fight violence and crime in Philadelphia.