Harrisburg-based organization to bring together “violence interrupters” for multiple training sessions

Violence interrupters from cities across the United States will meet this week in Baltimore with their national program leadership for unique hands-on training courses. The 40 interns, many of whom are former incarcerated adults determined to give back to their communities and demonstrate that change is possible, are employees of Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc., based in Harrisburg.

The hands-on training (HOT) sessions will be led by international trainer, practitioner and violence interdiction expert Aquil Basheer of the Professional Community Intervention Training Institute (PCITI) in Los Angeles.

Upon completion of the four-day training, participants will receive PCITI Professional Certification in Violence Prohibition and will be included in the national Professional Peacebuilders-CVI specialist collaboration.

Youth advocacy programs. Inc. is a national non-profit organization in 32 states and the District of Columbia with 46 years of experience reducing recidivism and making communities safer by providing effective and more racially equitable community services as an alternative to youth incarceration and child protection and child protection. behavioral health courses.

With a recently announced program in Charleston, South Carolina and violence interruption and prevention services in Baltimore, Chicago, Charlotte (a partnership with the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and Cure Violence Global), Dallas and Washington, DC, Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. is also expanding its partnerships with US cities seeking to transform their public safety systems.

The organization combines evidence-based violence interruption models with its own evidence-based wraparound services model of hiring and training neighborhood responders and behavioral health professionals to provide youth and family services. These give program participants tools to see their strengths and achieve positive goals.

Said Basheer, “As YAP partners with more cities to apply their proven wraparound services approach to reducing violence, we are honored to partner and offer and greatly appreciate the significance of this national training. in building a foundation for transforming public safety, justice, and social service systems to be more efficient and equitable.

Hiring “credible messengers” to interrupt the violence (many of whom are formerly incarcerated individuals) is the latest trend in reforming public safety systems, said Kelly Williams, YAP’s communications director. “While several local nonprofits do this work, YAP is the only national nonprofit to do so. Increasingly, we are receiving contracts to hire neighborhood-based staff who combine YAP’s evidence-based youth and family justice and child protection model with service interruption models. evidence-based violence to do the job. This Baltimore training is one of the first where we bring together violence interrupters and leaders from across the United States to learn and share best practices.

YAP is leveraging its nationwide capacity to support the nonprofit’s local Violence Interruption Teams, recently appointing Fred Fogg as National Director of Violence Prevention. Fogg works closely with fellow Baltimore/DC Regional Program Director Craig Jernigan, who helped launch YAP’s Baltimore Safe Streets and Group Violence Reduction programs and Washington, DC’s Credible Messenger Violence Prevention Services. . Jernigan also helps programs incorporate components of YAP Supported Work neighborhood business partnerships and YAPWORX employment readiness services, developed and delivered for nonprofits by social capital solutions consultant Ed DeJesus.

“PCITI training is one of many national resources, tools and opportunities we provide to our local programs for sharing best practices and collaborating to ensure that our priority in interrupting violence is the safety of employees/neighbourhood and yields great results,” Fogg said.

Guided by the nonprofit’s “no rejection, no ejection” policy, YAP’s decades of service include working with many young people whose backgrounds include serious offenses, multiple arrests and lengthy out-of-home placements.

Research from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice found that more than 86% of the organization’s youth justice participants had not been arrested six to 12 months after completing the program, and nearly 90% of young people were still living in their community with less than 5% participating. in a secure location.

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