What makes children safe?

A workshop and community initiative to create physical, emotional, relational, and social safety for children and youth


Fields of Knowledge
  • Health / Sustainability
  • Memory
  • Pedagogy
  • Public culture
  • Social Justice

Organizing Institutions


Contributing Institutions

School of Social Policy and Practice, the Department of English, and the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing at the University of Pennsylvania, and Slought


Lorene Cary


Rebecca Pepper Sinkler, editor


School District of Philadelphia, PhillyCAM, West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WePAC), Letter to My Father, Mighty Writers, Kensington International High School for Business, B.B. Comegys Afterschool program, and The Houston School Anti-Bullying Project

Opens to public





4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

On the web


Slought and SafeKidsStories.com are pleased to announce a community launch on Saturday, January 24, 2015 from 3:00-5:00pm. Join writers, artists, teachers and community leaders as they build a virtual community. We are bringing together real people to launch a website and social media movement. SafeKidsStories.com will describe, report, and illustrate Philadelphia programs that create physical, emotional, relational, and social safety for children and youth.

The site springs from organizer Lorene Cary's experience convening the Philadelphia School Reform Commission's first Safety Committee in 2012. In her role as chair, she heard hundreds of stories of excellent, innovative, even brilliant, programs and strategies to make a school, classroom, or even a singular educational relationship into the refuge that beleaguered communities need and that caring educators yearn to provide. At the same time she heard thousands of angry citizens asking why no one was doing precisely what so many were doing with love and quiet success. Indeed, the very noiselessness of safety can make it invisible as well. Like kids in the schoolyard, we adults run, figuratively, to see about a fight; what we do not see is how, in any given day filled with stresses and tension, hundreds of fights are prevented, restored, mediated, or repaired, and, even more critical, how schools build community to encourage safety and learning.

Using a wide range of contributors, from college writers to K-12 students to professional journalists and artists, SafeKidsStories.com will describe, report, and illustrate safety so that we can see it with the clarity and imagination with which we now see danger. If we do the job right, we will shine a light on people in our midst creating safe schools with and for kids, and we can encourage others. If we make it fun to read, look at, and listen to, too, then we'll be on our way to a stealth culture change.

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Starting September 2015, SafeKidsStories.com will a post each week on a subject or theme that answers the question: What makes children safe? We envision a lead essay or blog and additional material--other blogs and articles, links, of course, videos, artwork, music, games, curricula--curated by our editorial group as well as members of our wider virtual community.

A week dedicated to Calm, for instance, might start with an essay about teachers (and testimonials by them) working to learn and

practice calm as described by the Institute for Family Professionals in a 6-week professional development class; feature a blog about urban teens yoga and an interview with the founder of YogainSchools, which has reached 18,000 kids in Pittsburgh, or with Def Poetry Jam's Russell Simmons about his mission to introduce meditation into classrooms. We'd create a recommended booklist for elementary kids, middles, high-schoolers, and adults. We'll engage kids and parents through tweets, Instagram, or whatever's popping next fall.

Speakers include:

John Jackson, Dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice

Bill Hite, Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia

Denise James, Director of Strategic Communications for the Philadelphia Police Department

Greg Corbin, founder of the Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement

Peter Conn, Vartan Gregorian Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania

Jody Greenblatt, Stoneleigh Foundation Fellowship

SafeKidsStories.org organizer and writer Lorene Cary

And other amazing Philadelphia leaders, teachers and learners