#OliveCares: S.P.E.A.K.-ing Out for a Better Future

This week at Olive Devices, our theme is #Independence! For our #OliveCares post, we want to focus on a nonprofit that we believe, like us, helps provide independence for those who need it most.

Staying Positive Equals Amazing Kids.

At Olive Devices, we could not agree more. Teaching children to be positive, independent individuals is the key to creating a brighter future. That’s why we want to talk about S.P.E.A.K. (which stands for that beautiful sentence above) for this week’s #OliveCares blog post.

As stated on their website, S.P.E.A.K. is a Philadelphia organization that focuses on providing educational activities that encourage youth to become responsible, productive citizens. Jeff Templeton founded S.P.E.A.K. in 2008 as a city wide attempt to halt the Stop Snitching movement.

“Considering that crime reporting had reached an all-time low, I determined that a positive plan of action was necessary,” Templeton said. “Gang members, through threats of violence, effectively deterred people from reporting crimes to the police. Supporters of the Gang culture even created T-shirts that proclaimed Stop Snitching providing a negative image for adults and children living in these inner city communities.”

Templeton and his team created a series of programs to empower children with the courage to speak out, stay in school, and understand the essential skills needed for a successful future. These include Drug Prevention, Golden Ticket Program, Shadowing Program, Cooking Classes, an Anti-Bullying version of Family Feud, Internet Dangers, and Community Service.

“People needed to stand up for themselves, their families, and their neighborhoods,” Templeton said. “The positive call to action came in the creation of a new T-shirt that proclaimed, Fear is not an option; don’t let me see you do it.  The back of the shirt read: Our History, Our Future, You decide! with a red check mark beside Our Future. As a result of this campaign, it became apparent that in order to affect positive change, the true focus needed to move from adults to the development of positive, law abiding, young citizens.”

S.P.E.A.K. is a recipient of the 2014 and 2015 Top Nonprofit Award. The 30 reviews and testimonials on their website average a 5 star rating. Not only is S.P.E.A.K. providing quality work to create independence, but the community seems to agree with its results.

“I think SPEAK has been very successful because of the positive responses we have gotten from both the children and families,” Templeton said. “My favorite part is just knowing we can make a difference in the community.”


Molly Oretsky

Molly Oretsky