Roberto Castillo understands the dangers that can lurk behind dark corners, alleys and other hidden spots in his neighborhood.
About three years ago, Castillo, who lives in Maryvale, and his cousin were robbed as they were walking home after playing soccer.
“As we were walking home, these two guys were behind us. We didn’t notice because it was kind of dark,” he said. “In no time at all, they just dropped us to the ground and grabbed anything they could.”
That experience motivated him to search for ways to improve safety in his neighborhood and eventually collaborate with two like-minded students in his social entrepreneurship class at Western School of Science and Technology: A Challenge Foundation Academy, a public charter school in Maryvale. Western opened in 2014 as one of the inaugural schools in the New Schools for Phoenix program, which aims to increase the number of high quality schools in Phoenix’s urban core. The school serves grades 7-10 and will grow to serve seniors by 2018.