In 2006, Temple University Hospital’s trauma department launched Cradle to Grave in order to educate young people about the physical, emotional and social consequences of gun violence, while providing them an unflinching glimpse into the clinical aspects of this public health crisis. This initiative was prompted by a sudden 40% increase in the number of adolescent patients it was treating for gunshot injury.

The objective of C2G was to bring young people into the hospital as students – and ultimately improve their attitudes towards gun violence – in order to offer a countermeasure to the cultural influences that might bring them here as patients. Each year, more than 1,000 at-risk youth participate in the program, where they are guided through the real-life circumstances surrounding the violent death of a local 16 year-old teen. During this interactive two-hour experience participants see representative images of violent injuries, as well as reflect on the value their lives hold for their friends and families. Since its inception, Cradle to Grave has helped more than 4,000 young people discover that no matter how one measures it, the cost of violence is simply too high to pay.