If you walked into Tyrique’s community center on Taney Street in South Phillidelphia, you’d see a kind man devoting his working hours everyday to supporting the children of his neighborhood.
What you wouldn’t see is the long, hard, and tragic road Tyrique Glasgow took to arrive there, through a life of drug-dealing, crime, prison, and accumulating 11 gunshot wounds.
“When you run a block, like, you are the face. You’re the one who that community of people know. You set rules and boundaries,” Glasgow, now 39, told CNN. “It’s a dangerous life, but it’s a normal life.”
“I got tired of my community following me in a negative direction and I wanted them to follow me in a positive direction,” he said. “The kids really gave me a purpose.”
Today, Glasgow is up for a CNN Hero award. He runs the community center out of a building he used to use for drug-dealing, and which now gives children a safe place to enjoy summer camps, afterschool activities, or just play and get away from the violence and despair that has become all too common in the area.
He coaches a flag football team, a girl’s dance squad, and runs the Young Chances Foundation to create safe programing for urban youths and low resource families to grow and thrive. He recently renovated a vacant lot from an eyesore and known drug stash into a community vegetable garden.
His approach of activities and community roundtable engagements with police officers has had a radical effect on the well-being of his neighborhood, with shooting rates dramatically falling within the 17th police district, even while increasing elsewhere in the city.
Glasgow doesn’t stop at youth however, he also helps connect people with addiction therapy, rental assistance, GED classes, and mental health counseling.
“It helps reduce poverty, stress, trauma, and when your quality of life is up, the crime goes down,” said Glasgow. “I try to bring people to the table to take them off the menu. They accept me because I don’t point the finger at them. I look at them and see me. I’m one of them.”
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