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WATCH: PAAN Youth Partners Produce, Get Real in Short Film

Black Crown, a new and compelling docudrama, offers a brief but candid look inside the lives of our youth partners who participate in the Philadelphia Anti-Drug/Anti-Violence Network’s Intensive Prevention Services Program.

The poignant film, produced and written by the cast, is an honest look at how they feel about violence, their peers, home life, drugs, policing, and conflict resolution. This project comes from their heart, is spoken in their words, and is based off their real life experiences. It also highlights their positive, ongoing transformation.

Cameras follow our youth partners as they participate in various IPS workshops, counseling sessions, and the Philadelphia Police Diversion Program. They also traveled to several locations throughout the North Philadelphia communities that we serve to re-enact real life encounters which led them to our agency. We get a first-hand look at their business savvy while making a short film including: working behind the camera, producing original music, and maintaining a budget.

The film, which took several weeks to complete, also reveals the important roles our law enforcement partners and dedicated IPS staff have played in helping to develop and guide our youth partners toward a promising future.

The production was directed by Vernon K.  Ruffin Jr. of The Ruffin Vision Network for PAAN Television. The film originally premiered in front of an audience of more than 300 people on the big screen at the Pearl Theatre on North Broad Street during our 2nd Annual PAAN Jam.

We salute our youth partners listed below for their participation in the successful production. We know that there are many more films to come.

Tell us what you think of the film by leaving a message on our Facebook page or in the comments section of this story.

 “Black Crown” Film Youth Partners:BlackCrownCast

Jahnira Scere-Jones, Jon’Tia Manuel, Tamnyee Palmer-Anderson, Christopher Bradshaw, Chyna McCoy, DaShay Bailey, James Burtin, Alayah Roberson, Tia Manuel, Nasir Jackson, Michael Billups, Nijae Hyman, Natalia Margarito, Siyae Garrison-Burton, Tomair Chaplin, and Tyree Thomas

(All youth partners who participated in the film are listed but may not appear in the above photo. Also pictured, IPS staff members and PAAN partners.)

 WATCH: “Black Crown” Film

 Black Crown Cast: In Their Own Words


YP1“At my age trouble will find you. Kids are getting put in these jails…mind you they just built two jails for men like me. I am only 17.”  — IPS Youth Partner Nasir

YP2“I chose to hit a cop, so I chose to be here.  I chose not to listen to my mom and make my own choices, and this is what got me here.” — IPS Youth Partner Nijae

 YP11“I fear becoming a “nobody”…I want to be something in life.” — IPS Youth Partner Tomair


YP10“These programs are unheard of. You are being given a second chance, take advantage of that second chance. If you get arrested, I cannot guarantee you that I can place you back in this program.”Philadelphia Police Officer LaTonya Bey

YP4“This program helped me because I did not want to get arrested or get in fights…again.”IPS Youth Partner Natalia

YP6“For me not to go into the system, they told me that I had to go into this program for 90 days…do it with no problems and I should be good. You can’t be in the mix all of the time, fighting and getting shot…it’s too many people beefing with each other over something petty.” —IPS Youth Partner Michael



YP5“Some people just pick with people so that they can fight them. I’ve been in eight fights this year. It was a draw in two of them…the rest I won.”IPS Youth Partner Tamnyee 


YP7“You got younger kids looking at you right now, so do better. Violence is not good, I’m trying to chill.” — IPS Youth Partner Alayah

YPY“I fear how I am going to be in the future, like in 10 years I fear how I am going to be because your past always catches up to you.” –IPS Youth Partner Siyae

 YP3“I do it so I can say I made it, I made it. I do it until  I become the greatest.”Lyrics to the film’s original song written and produced by IPS Youth Partner Jon’Tia

PAAN Black Logo**The PAAN Intensive Prevention Services Program is an early intervention program for boys and girls ages 10 to 17 years old who exhibit high-risk or at-risk behaviors. Our team of care managers, counselors and site-based staff work with our youth partners and their families to prevent violence, truancy, to steer participants away from delinquency, and improve school performance.

Here’s one of our recent success stories: Youth Partner, Mom Share Success Story in Washington, D.C.


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