Local youth sanctuary helps kids overcome the effects of trauma

BOSTON — There are many resources available to kids after tragedies, like the deadly mass shooting at a Florida high school in Parkland, but what about kids who witness violence on a daily basis in their own neighborhood?

One local program is working to make a difference.

Last year in Boston, more than 250 people were wounded or killed by gunfire. The number of young men between the ages of 16 and 19 killed on city streets doubled.

Youth advocates say resources for young people traumatized by urban violence everyday are more scarce and less immediate.

"Around the country, services are needed to address trauma and children, especially low income children living in poverty that may no have access to other services," said Boston Youth Sanctuary founder Jana Karp.

Karp says 80 percent of the kids she services at the therapeutic after-school program are dealing with more than one complex trauma, like community and domestic violence, homelessness or sexual abuse.

"Without giving them the proper coping skills and without teaching them to tap into their own resilience the chances for their success are diminished," said Karp. "Some of the children are extremely triggered by things that are happening in the environment and things that are out of their control."

Mass shootings like the one in Parkland can also re-traumatize these students making more resources crucial.

"I wish that I didn't have a wait list or referrals constantly coming in, but unfortunately the world we live in our children are exposed to things that cause them to experience these traumas and need more support," said Karp.

For more information on the Boston Youth Sanctuary, click here.