Preventing youth violence
Our prevention programs are funded in part by The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s Shannon Community Safety Initiative (CSI) which is modeled on the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP) Comprehensive Gang Model (CGM). The CGM is a multi-sector approach to addressing a community’s gang and youth violence problem. After completing a needs assessment, communities assemble a steering committee which uses data to develop strategies in the following five areas:
- Social intervention programs for gang involved and proven risk youth include street outreach and case management. These programs reach out and act as links to gang-involved youth, their families, and other traditional social service providers. For high risk youth and at-risk youth, social intervention programs can include drop-in recreation, positive youth development, and other mechanisms to reach young people and connect them to positive adults and constructive activities.
- Suppression programs include close supervision or monitoring of gang involved youth and other high impact players by police, prosecutors, probation officers, and other officers of the court. These programs include hotspot patrols, law enforcement home visits, ride-alongs, re-entry, and special prosecutors.
- Opportunity provision programs provide education, training, and employment programs for gang involved youth and young people at high risk for youth violence and gang involvement.
- Organizational change is the development and implementation of policies and procedures that result in the most effective use of available and potential resources, within and across agencies, to better address the gang problem.
- Community mobilization includes educating the community about gang and youth violence trends in their city or neighborhood and involving them in strategies to confront the problem.
Satellite Units: After school programs located in the public housing communities of Toepfert, Lyman, Beaudoin Village, and Churchill. These programs are open year round and provide programs geared towards academic success, healthy lifestyles, and character development
Teen Membership Program:
- Keystone Club: 15 teens from Holyoke who complete service projects throughout the community.
- Young Men Matter, Too! YM2: A program that empowers teens that are at-risk with the tools and knowledge necessary to avoid risky behaviors. This program is run in collaboration with the Mass Alliance on Teen
- Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative Basketball League: Engages 300 young people throughout the year from all over Holyoke. Volunteers serve as Coach/Mentors for teams of 8. Each 12-week session focuses on a different theme: Drug and Alcohol Awareness, Gang Prevention, etc)
- Mentoring Program: This program provides 50 youth with one-on-one mentors from Holyoke. The mentoring program addresses youth violence by: a. working with teen males who are most at risk at becoming victims of violence or committing violent acts; b. engaging men from Holyoke who were previously involved with gangs or violence to help develop and run the program. Together we travel across the state, exposing all of us to new people, ideas, places, and food!
- HiSET program: This program provides HiSET classes and case management to 25 young people who are disengaged from school. In addition to preparation for the high school equivalency exam, we work to address any barriers in the way of a young person’s continue positive development- housing, employment, DTA/SNAP benefits, healthcare, etc).