Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $230,000)
The Youth Gang Suppression Implementation Grants Program is designed to reduce violent crime, gangs, and youth victimization, while enhancing public safety in communities by utilizing gang suppression efforts for at risk and gang involved youth.
Metro Community Ministries will support the Urban Leaders Program, which is a gang violence reduction program using suppression strategies that incorporate community- and data-driven responses to gang-related crime and violence, targeting gang-involved youth and youth at risk of becoming gang involved who are younger than age 18. The program will serve 35 youth per year for a total of 105 youth during the award period. In addition, family members and community members will receive services as a result of youth participation. The goals of the program will focus on efforts to reduce violent crime, gangs, and youth victimization while enhancing public safety. Through this endeavor, Metro Community Ministries will implement a bi-level system of care focused on youth currently involved or at risk of involvement with gangs while mobilizing community response units for increased intervention and youth interaction. Urban Leaders will engage youth from existing relationships with law enforcement, diversion programs, probation, local schools, community groups, collaborative partners, and word of mouth. The program will incorporate multiple opportunities for engagement and will be delivered using the concept of mentoring, using credible messengers from among the community to engage as mentors to youth participants. Mentors will provide youth with guidance using their own experiences as a motivator to leave the gang lifestyle and enter mainstream society.
Urban Leaders is designed to deliver services through three main components: (1) Challenge to Change, an 8-week program that will prepare participants with alternatives to gang involvement; (2) Urban Leaders Forums, which are weekly interactive sessions that will involve youth, their parents, and community leaders; they are focused on positive and prosocial interactions between parents and their children. The Alumni Forum will engage youth who have been in the program and actively participating for at least 6 months, providing them with an opportunity for peer leadership; (3) The Community Leadership Team will engage community stakeholders, employers, and concerned citizens to ensure quality assurance services, provide feedback on activities, and provide youth with exposure to community, education, and employment opportunities.