This is part of WTOP’s continuing coverage of people making a difference from our community authored by Stephanie Gaines-Bryant. Read more of that coverage.
A group in Prince George’s County, Maryland, is teaching young people how to save lives.
Isaac Esene, the founder and director of nonprofit Goodworks, said they teach young people how to become better bystanders by teaching them how to do CPR, stop bleeding from gunshot wounds and help someone who is experiencing an opioid overdose.
The group targets young people from 9 years old to people in their early 20s.
Esene said he founded the organization after experiencing a tragedy in his own life.
In December 2017, just a few months after finishing Charles Herbert Flowers High School in Springdale, Maryland, Esene said a close friend was shot and killed outside of Largo Community Library, not far from where he lived.
A short time later he was shipped out for training with the D.C. Air National Guard where he became a medic and learned how to treat gunshot wounds, stabbings and bomb injuries.
When he returned home, Esene said he realized that there had been a rise in violent crime in his community. He said another close friend became the victim of deadly gun violence.
He also said he realized that people had “zero first aid training.”
“The whole goal is to increase health literacy in our community and to help people become better bystanders,” he said.
Esene, who completed his enlistment from the military in June and is studying to become a physician assistant, launched Goodworks in 2022.
The Towson University graduate said his work with the D.C. Air National Guard, which included being on orders during the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020 and the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in 2021, really enhanced his desire to work for the community.
Over the last year, Esene said they have trained over 500 youth throughout the D.C. area. On Wednesday, Nov. 15, Goodworks will be returning to Esene’s alma mater, Charles Herbert Flowers High School, as part of their Manhood 101 Mentorship program.
He said they will be teaching students CPR along with their Stop the Bleeding course. They will also talk about how to use Narcan and attend a roundtable on how to keep their community safer.
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