Children in St. Louis have been killed at 10 times the national rate for decades, according to a Post-Dispatch analysis. One St. Louis grandma, Emma Harrington, lost two children who called her ‘granny’ 17 years apart.
Bailey works with kids and teenagers for six months to a year. The service is free through funding from donations and grants.
About 23% of eligible patients enroll and there are typically 40 to 50 people in the program, said Warren Hayden, a consultant who helps oversee Victim of Violence.
“We’ve found that the moment after you go through something like getting shot is a teachable moment, so we want to get them enrolled as quickly as possible,” Hayden said.
The mentors have a more personal relationship than a traditional hospital case worker. Bailey said it helps that she has relatives in some neighborhoods where she visits kids and even recently visited the middle school she attended for a child who was recovering from a gunshot wound.
“It makes you realize, ‘I could have been in the exact same place when I was a kid,’” she said.
The two hospitals, along with others in the city, also receive money for a social worker through Life Outside of Violence, funded by the Missouri Foundation for Health, which provides counseling to people into their early 20s who have been affected by violence.
St. Louis Children’s and Cardinal Glennon also have education initiatives to limit accidental shootings, which make up a significant number of the gunshot injuries to children.