Over the past three years of working with children in Richmond, Virginia, I have seen firsthand the effects that the Richmond Urban Crisis violence has on our children. In 2014 one of my students was killed in a tragic event while attempting to defend his sister. A few weeks ago one of my students from Chimborazo Elementary School was directly affected by violence when his father was shot and killed, but he is not alone. Six students from this school have lost a parent to violence in the last 3 months. We started KICDRUM at Chimborazo last spring. During that session one of the students lost his mother, it was a privilege to be able to provide him with an outlet and tools to work through his emotions. The teachers often commented of how it was good to see him smiling and enjoying himself. I was so proud of him he was one of my best drummers and a real leader.

Overby Sheppard Elementary school is one of the schools we are expanding KICDRUM into this fall. This school has also recently been affected by violence. Over the summer, at 10am on a Saturday morning, some of the students found a body of a 22 year old man on their playground, a place where they play!

Although violence seems to be a part of the new normal of the world around us, it is our responsibility as adults, to provide support and outlets for our children to deal with this world. We also need to teach our children other ways to handle conflict, emotions, and trials. Kids in Crisis is committed to helping children caught in the crisis of losing a friend or loved one, and to help our children discover tools to handle conflict in a nonviolent, non-confrontational way. KICDRUM is a tool that can be used in the schools to help accomplish these goals. KIC needs recourses to expand our program, so as to be able to meet the overwhelming needs that face this community that we live in and love.