Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $320,000)
The Supporting Victims of Gang Violence Grant Program provides funding for localities to increase the availability of direct support services for victims of gang-related violence and to develop or enhance the responses to children and youth exposed to gang-related violence in their homes, schools, and communities. This program is authorized by Pub. L. No. 116-6, 133 Stat. 13, 113.
Affirming Youth Foundation, Inc.'s PROJECT SEEDS - HEALS (Social Emotional Enhance and Development for Success - Helping Empower and Lift Society) is a comprehensive community-based, multiagency collaboration to address youth gang-related violence and victimization among racial/ethnic minorities in the neighborhood of Liberty City in Miami, Florida. PROJECT SEEDS - HEALS is a trauma-informed, comprehensive program for victims of gang-related violence that uses the theoretical and evidence-based models of Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools, Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Family and Schools Together, combined with the Integrated Student Services Model, to provide high-quality services to victims of gang related violence and trauma. The goals of the project are to (1) reduce the incidence of violence through health and wellness services to trauma-impacted youth; (2) lower rates of aggression and violent behavior by helping youth develop emotional self-awareness and control, positive social skills, problem-solving, and conflict resolution; (3) provide mentoring and intensive wraparound services that address environmental factors, family, and daily living; and (4) implement a community-based platform to improve positive youth and family outcomes while preventing violence, delinquency, victimization, and revictimization by improving the response to children's exposure to violence and enhancing public safety in targeted communities and schools. The projected outcomes are (1) improved system response to victims of gang-related violence and their families through a structured process for youth, parents, and caregivers to learn about trauma while developing strategies to reduce related stress, control emotions, and modulate action associated with challenges occurring during various life experiences; (2) structured opportunities and a platform for youth, with the support of their parents/caregivers, to process the trauma and learn to cope with stimuli that may lead to traumatic reactions; (3) support the youth in developing and maintaining safety; and (4) reduce and sustain a reduction in youth victimization and revictimization as a result of gang-related violence or witnessing community violence.