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Janiesha Grisham

Violence Prevention Educator, Teens on Target

A safe space without judgment is how Janiesha Grisham describes her role as a Violence Prevention Educator for Teens on Target (TNT). Herself, a product of the program, she knows the power of safe space when growing up. “My mentors that I had in the program at the time, I’m still in touch with them,” the Castlemont High School graduate said. “It was just the love I got there and it was something I just really wanted to give back. I just need to go back to my roots. To give back that comfort.”

TNT provides space for students to learn about violence and the trauma that comes in its wake, topics that can be challenging to discuss in the most orderly of circumstances. In TNT, educators are working with dozens of students at a time who are all in different headspace and at different levels of understanding and educators have to adapt to individual needs. “It’s being a chameleon, I don’t talk to all of them the same because they don’t respond the same,” Janiesha said.

But the best parts of this work outweigh the challenges. “Seeing the kids grow. Seeing them make different life choices,” Janiesha said. “Especially when they get comfortable with me and confide with me and they can be free – those are some of my favorite parts.”

Headshot of Violence Prevention Educator, Teens on Target Janiesha Grisham