Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $997,351)
Gang Alternative, Inc. (GA) is a faith and community-based non-profit organization with the mission to build character that lasts in children and families through positive alternatives to crime, violence, dependency, and delinquency. GA has served some of the most vulnerable high-crime and high-poverty communities in South Florida for 16 years and has been leading community organizing and community mobilizing efforts for over a decade through its work in founding and leading two drug free community coalitions. Its programs include afterschool academic enrichment, career development, gang suppression, life skills development, re-entry services, wraparound care coordination, minority youth violence prevention research, coalition-building and mentoring. Utilizing prevention and intervention strategies, GA will address the problem of gang and gun violence amongst minority youth in high-crime, high-poverty target communities within Miami-Dade County. Project VICE (Violence Intervention Through Community Engagement) is designed to expand upon GA’s current OJJDP Youth Gang Suppression Program by incorporating a data-driven focus on the issue of gun violence and victimization. VICE will employ Community Violence Intervention strategies using a multisystemic community coalition framework aimed at reducing gun violence, targeting youth ages 13-17 who are: (i) involved with or at-risk of involvement with formal or informal gangs and/or (ii) vulnerable to victimization or already experiencing victimization. VICE’s six strategies are: (i) research on context that leads to youth involvement with guns; (ii) use of evidence-based violence prevention curriculum through in-school and afterschool programming; (iii) street outreach; (iv) group violence intervention; (v) establishment of a multisystemic Anti-Violence Community Coalition (task force); and (vi) work readiness and occupational skills training. Finally, GA will also include an evidence-based prevention program that will focus on preventing drug use, delinquency, anti-social behavior, early school drop-out, and family dysfunction, all of these being underlying causes of youth gang engagement and gun involvement.