Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2020, $1,015,150)
This program aligns with the Departments priorities to combat victimization and reduce violent crime. Funding under the Strategies to Support Children Exposed to Violence program can be used to develop support services for children exposed to violence in their homes, schools, and communities; and to develop, enhance, and implement violent crime reduction strategies that focus on violent juvenile offenders. This program development and resource allocation decision by interested applicants should be based on currently available resources to the jurisdiction and gaps in services. This program is authorized by 34 U.S.C. 11171-11172; Department of Justice Appropriations Act, 2020, Pub. L. No. 116-93; 133 Stat. 2317, 2410.
The U. S. Dream Academy (Dream) proposes to lead a multisector coalition to address violence in the OST/South Union (OST/SU) neighborhood in Houston, Texas, a community long marked by poverty and crime. Through the promotion of community-wide initiatives and providing a continuum of support for youth from grades 2 - 12, the South Union Neighborhood Impact Project (SUNIP) will pursue evidence-based strategies identified by the Centers for Disease Control to create protective community environments and connect youth to caring adults and activities.
Dreams strategies to support youth exposed to violence focuses on saturating positive youth development strategies, activities, and full engagement. Dreams first approach includes developing and facilitating a coalition to strengthen neighborhood assets to address community-level risks for youth violence through a Planning Team comprised of core partners with extensive experience and roots in OST/SU. Next, Dream will expand their Out of School Time program and mentoring model to two additional elementary schools as well as establishing the South Union Youth Institute (SUYI), a mentor-based network of support for middle and high school students that provides extensive leadership opportunities, college, and career-readiness activities and academic support to complete high school on-time.
Through this project, Dream will build protective factors, reduce violence, and promote thriving at the neighborhood and individual level in OST/SU. Through Dreams direct services along with partner youth-serving organizations in this grant, they propose to reach 700 young people.
Dream will measure its progress towards its goals in a number of areas, including how many youths are served in their grades 2 12 pipelines of support, the number of youth served in partnership and the amount of reduced violence. Dream will also measure academic performance and behavior, as well as attendance at school, afterschool programs, and SUYI activities for evidence of increased engagement with school and with positive, constructive activities, known as protective factors. Dream will also count how many youth offenders participate in a restorative justice process, and will track community participation in their neighborhood initiatives. CA/NCF