The Structure of YVSP Community Process

The Advisory Team

The Advisory Team consists of leading scholars and practitioners in the youth violence prevention field who inform the underlying strategy and approach of the YVSP and regularly advise the project team.  

Dean Borgman

Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary,
Charles E. Culpeper Professor of Youth Ministries, 1976

Rev. Jeffrey Brown

Executive Director of Boston TenPoint Coalition

Rev. Dr. Ray Hammond

Chair of Board of Directors of the Boston Foundation
Chair and Founder of the Ten Point Coalition

Jack McDevitt

Northeastern University,
Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Criminal Justice
Director of the Center for Criminal Justice Policy Research
Director of the Institute on Race and Justice

Neighborhood Design Teams

Neighborhood design teams were convened in three neighborhoods, each consisting of 12 community residents (6 adults and 6 youth). These teams oversaw and approved the development of our model framework and the core logic of the model. They worked in close coordination with our computer model builder who translated their findings into visual diagrams and then into a computer model. Each design team, along with additional community members, regularly reviewed, tested and approved the model as it was being developed. The teams were led through a collaborative learning process which focused on building trust and a spirit of inquiry with participants by openly challenging assumptions, experimenting and reflecting publicly about the project design, and digging for deeper shared insight into each topic area.  

The design teams were assembled with the assistance of lead community partners which were selected for their history of work in youth violence at the community level, and their respected status as community-led agencies in their respective neighborhoods. Three partners were selected in each target neighborhood who were responsible for selecting four individuals for the team (1 agency worker, 1 adult community resident, and 2 youth community residents). 

Stakeholder Listening Sessions

Focus groups, in-depth interviews, and information sessions were held with community residents, community-based agencies, and academic and institutional stakeholders to inform and secure their input regarding the project design, execution, and implementation. These individuals were selected due to their acknowledged role as gatekeepers to networks that would provide access to key people, information, and data required for the successful execution of the project. Their input was essential in helping to design a process that was acceptable to community residents and to attaining the required data sets. The information gathered from this formative research provided critical insight into the history, politics, and power dynamics at work in the field of youth violence reduction in the city of Boston – information which was needed to effectively launch a large citywide initiative. 

In Phase IV (2010), the YVSP will convene an academic forum to explore the public health and criminology/sociology implications of the model, discuss the model’s underlying logic and merits, and obtain attendees’ critical academic review and feedback. 

Community Meetings

In 2009, the YVSP held periodic meetings within a larger community setting as a way to engage a broader cross section of the community for input into the model building process. The three primary meetings in 2009 were hosted by:

  • The GOTCHA Collaborative
  • Mass Housing
  • Louis D. Brown Peace Institute

Likewise in Phase IV (2010), the YVSP will continue to present at community meetings to increase awareness of a systems approach to youth violence. YVSP will also convene two community conferences to discuss model feedback and usability recommendations. 

Model Use Trainings

In Phase IV, the YVSP will train a targeted group of stakeholders and practitioners and work with the High Risk Youth Network to identify and train qualified youth workers to serve as certified data providers who will help obtain additional neighborhood data so the model can continue to be updated with new information. 

Specifically we aim to:

  • Train 50 community agencies on how to use the model effectively and provide ongoing support.
  • Train 200 youth workers to understand and use the model as they work with youth all over the city. This training will consist of workshops, forums, and courses that are designed to teach youth workers about the key concepts that make up the core logic of the model as well as the use of the model “flight simulator” which will be available to the general public.
  • Train other interested stakeholders (including policymakers and institutional organizations) so they will be better able to evaluate past, current and proposed intervention strategies.

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