The Bowdoin/Geneva area has long been the home of organizations that work with youth, some of them dating back to the 1600s. Today, the neighborhood features a number of important and pioneering community collaborations serving youth and working to reduce violence. These efforts hold promise for the future of a neighborhood which has experienced its share of traumatic violence in recent years.
Bowdoin/Geneva was one of the four neighborhoods involved in creating the computer model of the youth violence system (link here to an about page describing project.) The Design Team that was formed in Bowdoin/Geneva was made up of staff, residents and youth from St Peter’s Teen Center (link), Federated Dorchester Neighborhood Houses (link), and Bowdoin Street Health Center (link). Beginning in the Fall of 2009, the Bowdoin/Geneva Team joined with the Grove Hall Team to build on the work that was begun by the Uphams Corner Team. Over the course of four meetings the Bowdoin/Geneva Team discussed in depth how youth begin to become involved in gangs. The team raised important questions about the range of reasons young people turn to violence and addressed the impact of family and community on youth.
A typical Design Team Meeting in Bowdoin/Geneva looks something like this:
A conference room is reserved at Bowdoin Street Health Center, and the group begins to gather at 4 pm. Khary Bridgewater, Project Manager, shows a few slides and introduces the task for the day – the team’s work is to express how young people move through the youth violence system, going from uninvolved to involved in gangs. Staff and youth from the three community agencies are divided into small groups to discuss the question. After 20 minutes the groups gather their three most valuable insights and Paul Bothwell, Community Liasion, facilitates a report back to the larger team. An animated discussion is sparked debating whether people would move from being uninvolved in a gang to shooting someone out of a motivation for revenge. After a lengthy discussion, the team decides to include a “rogue” bucket for this category. After the meeting, Khary communicates with the model builder this new addition to the model.