Page Contents: The Khadafy Washington Project | Counseling ServicesSTART: Screening & Tool for Awareness & Relief of Trauma


On the streets of any city like Oakland, people die by the gun. Others will be shot, stabbed or beaten, and survive. These wounded, and the survivors of the killed, are desperately in need of care, of emotional, financial and practical support to help them heal from the trauma violence leaves in its wake.  

Khadafy Washington Project

hug_webThe Khadafy Washington Project (KWP), named for the murdered son if its founder, is our program through which crisis responders step into the immediate aftermath of each Oakland homicide to support families and friends of the victim. KWP provides emergency financial assistance, relocation services, and urgent help applying for victim compensation and planning funerals. KWP staff and Youth ALIVE! clinicians hold regular healing circles for mothers and families of victims.

Counseling Services

All of our counseling services are administered by a staff highly trained in recognizing the symptoms of trauma that occur in victims of violence. Our mental health counselors provide community-based services in collaboration with our intervention workers. The goal is to assist each client in creating their own road map to healing. For people who have grown up in violent neighborhoods, the traditional 50-minute therapy session is not always the best approach. By bringing therapy out of the clinic and into the community, Youth Alive! has seen an increase in the number of clients engaged in active therapy: from about 5 percent of its clients to 35 percent. All of our clients are eligible for this crucial service in their quest to heal.


START (Screening & Tool for Awareness & Relief of Trauma) is a tool we developed with a group of young men recovering from their own gunshot wounds, to help identify otherwise neglected symptoms of trauma and to offer a bit of relief to the sufferer. There are young people in Oakland who have never been shot but who nevertheless are suffering from the trauma of growing up amidst the violence. They see it in their homes, on their streets and in their schools. Many have lost a loved one to the violence. And it affects them. They are traumatized by the violence. START interviews are brief guided conversations, maybe 20 to 30 minutes, conducted by a trained, caring adult, to identify possible symptoms of trauma, to increase understanding of why and how trauma affects us, and to give a sufferer tools for coping in those moments when grief and trauma emerge and threaten to overwhelm. We offer this tool free of charge to partner agencies as well. Take a look at the START website, START2HEAL, to learn more.