Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $998,969)
In Chelsea, Massachusetts, school and community-based violence are driven by a highly traumatized group of young people, many recent immigrants from Central America. Roca has worked diligently over the past 34 years to create an effective response to violence prevention that helps young people address their own trauma and build the skills they need to create sustainable behavior change.
Through this grant, Roca’s Central American Youth (CAY) program in partnership with Chelsea Public Schools (CPS), will engage over 100 young people per year through prevention services and provide intensive intervention to 50 of Chelsea’s highest risk 15–18-year-old young people who are at the center of youth violence and gang activity. Roca’s model for reducing violence among CAY and other extremely high-risk youth centers on delivering targeted services grounded in CBT, because it is key to addressing trauma, and includes a combination of tools designed to help young people feel safe and develop the tools they need to manage their own trauma and make more positive decisions. Roca will use these tools to not only to directly serve young people, but we will also work to build the capacity of CPS to more effectively manage student and teacher trauma and reduce violence within its schools.
Specifically, through this project, Roca and CPS seek to achieve the following objectives:
Planning and Partnership
Form and regularly convene an Advisory Committee
Work with CPS to create and annually update a School Safety Strategic Plan.
Build CPS Capacity
Provide CPS staff and other partners with training on brain science, CBT and Peacemaking Circles and provide coaching to help integrate these tools into the school setting.
Provide a CBT Driven Service “Backpack” customized to meet the needs of each young person that will include, minimally:
Engaging 100 young people a year in in-school violence prevention services
Engaging 50 of the highest risk young people each year in Roca’s Intervention Model ensuring that 70% of young people demonstrate educational and/or vocational gains and improvements in criminal thinking and criminal behaviors.
Utilizing Peacemaking Circles and other restorative justice tools to help build bridges between young people and police and among young people.
Engaging with families and provide critical supports that will provide young people and their families with the structure they need to avoid violence whenever possible.