If you're not on our monthly mailing list, take a look at the most recent YVSP Update how violent events have the potential to leave entire communities with symptoms of Traumatic Stress. The research used studies from the 2007 tragedy at Virginia Tech, but its findings shed light on what's happening in urban neighborhoods here in Boston.


Join the City Mission Society and Churches United for Youth Peace in their Pledge to Pray II. To take part, sign up for their email list and you'll receive weekly prayers.

Take a look at YVSP's most recent update on one of the summer's most important themes: youth jobs. Both youth and the latest academic research agree that offering meaningful employment is one of the most effective ways of reducing youth violence.

Click here to watch a news segment about the "What Matters to You(th)" Forum produced by BNN TV's "Around Town."


What Matters to Youth, Around Town from Emmanuel Gospel Center on Vimeo.

As part of the Summer Enrichment Series, Citizens Bank, the Boston Foundation, and the Black Ministerial Alliance (BMA) have awarded grants to support Teen Cafés throughout the city. Teen Cafés are meant to be engaging, creative spaces for youth to develop positive relationships, promote peace, and express themselves. Each site will offer at least 10 Cafés, designed for youth in the age ranges of 11-13, 14-17, or 18-20. The following organizations have been selected as hosts:

If you are looking for a safe place for your youth and would like more information, please either contact the organizations directly or email Annette Campbell at the BMA (617-445-2737).

You, your  organization, and your partners are invited to our next training on how the YVSP Strategy Lab, an interactive computer simulation model that captures key interdependencies underwriting violence in Boston, can be used to restore lasting peace in our communities. 

Here are the key details:

  • What: YVSP Model Training
  • When: August 8th, from 11am-5pm (lunch will be included!)
  • Where: Emmanuel Gospel Center (EGC), 2 San Juan St, Boston, MA 02118
  • RSVP:Email Erik Nordbye  

The Model (which is freely available for download) is a powerful collaborative tool, but its usefulness depends on being familiar with its underlying concepts, framework, and functions. It's always more fun to learn together than trying to do it alone.  

Don't forget to RSVP, and we hope to see some of you on August 8th!

YVSP is planning a training on how to use the Computer Model for early July (dates are forthcoming). If you or your organization is interested, email YVSP here.

In case you weren't able to make the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute's Mother's Day Walk for Peace, here is a brief report of what happened and why YVSP is convinced that it's such an important event.

Click here to see YVSP's April Update, where we take a look at the 2012 Boston Indicators Report and summarize some of its findings that are most relevant to Boston's youth. 

The International Fellowship of Chaplains (IFOC) will be conducting a Community Chaplaincy Training, in which participants will receive training in critical incident stress management, greif and loss, depression, debriefing, suicidology, domestic violence, spirituality and trauma, post-traumatic stress, disaster relief, and human trafficking. Here is the key information:

Date: May 21-25
Time: 8:00am-5:00pm
Location: Center for Urban Ministerial Education (90 Warrant Street, Roxbury)
Cost: $300
Please Register by April 27th, or as soon as possible.

To register, visit the IFOC website. For more information, view the flier or email LeSette Wright.

A number of organizations, including YVSP's partners Project RIGHT, Teen Center at St. Peter's, and GOTCHA, have come together to sponsor a rally and hearing for summer youth jobs.

Date: Thursday, April 19th
Time: Rally at 12pm, Hearing at 1pm
Where: Rally at Boston City Hall Plaza, Hearing on the 5th Floor of Boston City Hall

For more information, view the flier here or contact Joy Depina with the office of City Councilor At-Large Felix Arroyo.

The Boston Public Health Commission has announced a Request for Proposals under the Defending Childhood Initiative. For 5 community organizations, they are offering to fund the raining and implementation of the Family Nuturing Program. Applications are due April 20th. For more information, click here.

Registration is now open for the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute's Mother's Day Walk for Peace. The walk will take place on May 13. To register, donate, or learn more, click here.

The Multiculural Drop-Out Outreach Collaborative (M.D.O.C.) is hosting a film screening of "Beyond the Bricks: A New Era of Education" on March 28th. Here is the film's description, from the Beyond the Bricks Project website:

The "Beyond the Bricks" film follows African-American students Shaquiel Ingram and Erick Graham as they struggle to stay on track in the Newark, NJ public school system. Weaved into the boys’ stories is commentary from some of the country’s foremost leaders, experts and scholars focused on black boys and their education including Newark Mayor Cory Booker, the Reverend Al Sharpton, Schott Foundation for public education President Dr. John Jackson, Dr. Pedro Noguera, and Dr. Ivory Toldson, among others. Though the film focuses primarily on students from Newark, NJ, the issues addressed there extend to urban enclaves throughout the nation.

The film screening and discussion will be held from 5:30-8:00 pm at Freedom House, Inc., 14 Crawford Street, Roxbury, MA.  For more information, see the flyer or visit the website.

The Youth Violence Systems Project wouldYouth using YVSP Model like to invite you to a free training on how to use the YVSP Strategy Lab: a free, interactive computer-simulation model that captures key inter-dependencies that underwrite violence among youth in Boston.   


The Model is designed to:

  • articulate the community's knowledge about youth violence in a computer simulation that representatives can take back to their organizations
  • enable community organizations to better evaluate youth violence prevention and intervention strategies
  • promote a rich dialogue about youth violence amongst a variety of stakeholders

We would like to offer you the Model and show you how to use it most effectively in your organization! For more information, take a look at this Special Edition Review or these videos


Here are the key details regarding the training:

Event: YVSP Model TrainingYVSP Lab v2.00 Interface
Date: February 16th, 2012
Time: 10am-5pm (Lunch will be provided!)
Place: Hibernian Hall
           184 Dudley St., Dudley Sq., Boston, MA 02119
Please RSVP by emailing Erik (

Feel free to forward this invitation on to your partners. If you have questions about YVSP, the Model, or the training, there is much more information on our website ( or you could contact us directly (call us at 617-262-4567 or send us an email).

We hope to see you soon!

-The YVSP Team

Take a look at YVSP's December Update for the first look at the "What Matters to You(th)" Forum held on December 7th. 

On Tuesday, December 6th, 6-8pm, the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute would like to invite you to join them for the official release of "Always In My Heart": A Workbook for Grieving Children written by Clementina Chery. The workbook is $10.95 and can be purchased at the Peace Institute or online at (search for "Always in My Hear"). Please also share this with the families you work with.  

There will be a YVSP Learning Team meeting on 12/1/2011. 

We hope that many of you already subscribe to the monthly YVSP Updates that we email out (if you're not signed up, email!).  Now we are also posting the main articles from those updates here on our website.  Check those out at!

There will be a meeting of the YVSP Learning Team on Thursday, November 11th. 

YVSP's October Update has been published.  In it, we take a look back at the last year.  Click here to see the October Update and to sign up to recieve an email version of future updates.

There will be a meeting of the YVSP Learning Team on 10/13.

The Boston Faith & Justice Network is sponsoring an event to show how localized economic development helped revitalize Egleston Square and reduced neighborhood violence. 

When: Thursday, October 6 from 7 PM - 9 PM
Where: St. Mary's of the Angels Roman Catholic Church (377 Walnut Avenue, Boston, MA 02119)

For more information, click here.

There will be a joint YVSP Learning Team & Steering Committee meeting on September 26th.

An article on YVSP has been featured in a public health journal published by Johns Hopkins called Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education and Action.1  The article, entitled "A Community-Based Systems Learning Approach to Understanding Youth Violence in Boston," is now available for download, as is the accompanying editorial!

Download the Article

Download the Editorial

This academic article was co-authored by some people you may know from the Project: Khary Bridgewater, Steve Peterson, John McDevitt, David Hemenway, Jeffrey Bass, Paul Bothwell, and Ros Everdell. We are pleased with the positive reception of this article.

The same publication contains a featured editorial on YVSP praising the work of the communities that helped bring about the YVSP Model, saying that “this level of innovation is unprecedented in most youth prevention research programs.”  They urge us on in our community-based and relational approach saying, “active and effective listening, communication building, and respect need to be encouraged at every stage of community-based prevention/intervention efforts. Only then will we get serious about youth violence prevention.”

1Copyright © 2011 The Johns Hopkins University Press.  The article first appeared in PROGRESS IN COMMUNITY HEALTH PARTNERSHIPS: RESEARCH, EDUCATION, AND ACTION, volume 5, Issue 1, Spring, 2011, pages 3-5 and 67-75.

View the current YVSP Media Release here.

The Youth Violence Systems Project is hosting an Academic Forum May 27th. We are convening a diverse group of academics for the Forum, in order to present the project, dialogue across disciplinary boundaries, and collect expert insights and suggestions on potential next steps, both locally and more broadly.

Version 2.0 of the YVSP Strategy Lab has been released, and it is available as a FREE download here

The new version retains the familiar face of the previous versions—like the slippery slope diagram on the “Configure Experiments” page and the output graphs in “Run Experiments.” You will find some welcome improvements as well, including:

  • Neighborhood and City Scale Labs
  • Pop-up bucket definitions
  • Cleaner layout
  • Print feature
  • Refining the terms and diagram flows


Connecting the Disconnected: A Survey of Youth and Young Adults in Grove Hall is a recent study commissioned by the city of Boston and implemented by Project R.I.G.H.T.the Boston Ten Point Coalition, Health Resources in Action, andthe Harvard Youth Violence Prevention Center.  The study's objective was to better understand the challenges of "disconnected" young adults and to inform a better system of community resources for youth trying to finish school and find employment.  

Connecting the Disconnected is exceptional both because 1,050 youth participated in the survey and because 11 youth living in Grove Hall collaborated in the survey's design, administration and analysis.  It's findings illuminate the way that employment, education, violence, and family support shape the lives of youth in Grove Hall, as well as the overall health of the community.  

Read and download the report here


For anyone interested, there will be a training for the YVSP Computer Model on March 17th.  The training will be held at the Emmanuel Gospel Center (2 San Juan St., Boston) from 10 am to 4 pm.  There is no cost for the training, and attendees will walk away with the Model software.  Also, lunch will be provided.  For more information, contact Jin Min Lee at

The Youth Violence Systems Project was initiated to empower the community’s perspective on youth violence in Boston by creating a framework for developing intervention strategies that lead to real change. Since 2008, YVSP has been using a community-based approach coupled with systems dynamics modeling to create a virtual laboratory to model youth violence intervention strategies. Our goal is to help develop the capacity for deep and honest dialogue among a wide range of people to collaborate toward a shared goal of reducing youth violence in our neighborhoods. 

Page 1

The Youth Violence Systems Project: A Community‐Based Framework of Understanding Youth Violence in Boston gives an overview of the community‐based process that is at the heart of YVSP. It also gives a brief introduction to the content covered in more depth in the other three articles.  

Page 22

The YVSP Strategy Lab describes YVSP’s system dynamics model in detail, including an introduction to the key systems concepts for understanding the model.

Page 34

The Reason Why We Haven’t Solved the Gang Violence Problem discusses how the YVSP team solicited the input of gang members in the design process, and describes the findings and insights gained.

Page 50

What We Are Learning describes how the model is being used in various settings, and what different folks are learning from the discourse so far.

To view and download the complete YVSP Special Edition Review (all four articles), click here.

The YVSP team is currently working on version 2.0 of the Computer Model, which will run simulations on a neighborhood scale rather than a city scale.  To ensure that the Model's framework reflects reality, we are inviting community members, youth, youthworkers, and others to participate in Focus Groups that will analyze the Model and provide some feedback.  There are two dates being considered: February 4th, and February 18th.  If you are interested in being a part of one of the Focus Groups, please email us at  We would be grateful for the chance to build your insights into the Model's framework! 

(If you take a look at some of the videos explaining the Model's development up until this point, you can see how essential community participation has been to this project.)

On December 9th, 2010, over 60 youth, youth workers, community members, and representatives of community organizations from the neighborhoods of Boston came out to participate in a Community Forum hosted by the Youth Violence Systems Project.  We shared visions for peace, heard from community groups that have been working with the YVSP Computer Model, saw the unveiling of a new version of the Model, and discussed ways that we could work together to reduce violence in our communities.  Take a look at a video and some pictures from the event here, and if you are interested in future forums or other YVSP events email us at  

 The next YVSP Learning Team Meeting is February 18th, 2010

 The next YVSP Steering Committee Meeting will be February 4th, 2011

The Youth Violence Systems Project in collaboration with Boston Ten Point Coalition will be offering a full day workshop through the Boston Capacity Tank to educate and train youth workers on the broader functioning of the youth violence system, and on how to use the YVSP computer model to maximize their impact in serving Boston's youth. The training will be offered once a month from March through June, and is available to all agencies serving high-risk or at-risk youth. Please contact Sam Kim, Project Manager at for more information. 

Come to the public unveiling of the youth violence systems model! Be part of this historic event as the design teams, community leaders and academic advisors unveil this powerful synthesis of their combined understanding of the causes of youth violence.  Join us in celebration and to learn more about how to use this exciting new tool . Model Launch will take place in late February - details to follow.

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