More than 220 children under 12 years old died by a gunshot in the U.S. in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control. More than 600 children were injured. But tens of thousands more live in the shadow of gun violence every day.
Gun violence is a reality for many children in D.C. and the effects — including anger, withdrawal and stress — spill over into the classroom. One arts program in the city helps children process this mix of emotions.
Jeremiah is a toothy, 9-year-old with a buzz cut. He just made his school basketball team, he looks after his baby sister, and he loves drawing. Jeremiah and his buddy Tae are rummaging through red, blue and green sketch pens in front of them. They’re getting ready to draw pictures based on their experiences with guns and violence. These children are two of almost 150 children in the Life Pieces to Masterpieces afterschool program. It’s a nonprofit that works with young boys who live in some of the poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods in D.C.