Welcome back from the Thanksgiving break! This update follows up on an earlier article covering the Safe & Successful Youth Initiative, but first we're eager to tell you about YVSP's upcoming Community Forum!
The YVSP Community Forum is December 7th!
On Wednesday, December 7th, we'll be gathering a group of youth who are invested in the cause of reducing violence and improving their communities at English High School in Jamaica Plain for this year's YVSP Community Forum. Last year's Forum was a great time for people from several organizations around the city to come together, and share about what they were doing with the YVSP Model or as Learning Centers. Adults and young people alike at last year's event expressed their desire to hear more directly from youth and put their perspective front and center. With this in mind, this year's Forum theme is "What Matters to You(th)?" Youth helping to organize and plan this event describe it as an opportunity to "connect, build, and move forward." The Forum is free, but space is limited and reserved especially for youth, so please RSVP by sending us an email.
More on the Safe & Successful Youth Initiative
Two months ago, we wrote that Boston would likely receive funding from the state through Governor Patrick's Safe & Successful Youth Initiative (SSYI). At a November 16th press conference, the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) made the official announcement that the City was awarded $2.3 million out of a total $9.7 million statewide budget. This is big news at the state level! Governor Patrick has consistently included eliminating youth violence on his agenda, and is putting forward a large-scale plan. Bringing it down to the city level, Boston will receive a significant portion of the funding - roughly 24% of the total funds available. Ten other cities around the Commonwealth experiencing relatively high levels of violence will receive the rest: amounts ranging from around $400k-$900k.
This funding focuses on services for boys and young men between the ages of 14-24 who are considered to have a high risk for involvement in violence. The intent is to use the money to support and build upon the work of community programs that directly serve these young men and their families, especially younger siblings. SSYI funds may be used to link these young men to related programs, like summer camps or jobs. Governor Patrick also wants to partner with local officials to promote tougher gun laws through his initiative.
What we don't know yet is how this funding and the related services will connect with YVSP and its partners. We're glad to see that the SSYI wording acknowledges the value of collaboration and working at multiple points along what the Model calls the "Slippery Slope." These points include:
Working with younger siblings of youth involved in violence
Supporting reentry services
Reducing availability of guns
Orienting outreach to at-risk youth
As the lead agency, the BPHC will receive and distribute the SSYI funding within Boston. It remains to be seen exactly how that money will be distributed among the City's community partners. So far, there has been a Request for Qualification for staff development and training service for the Initiative. We are very interested to find out how SSYI will support the City of Boston's ongoing efforts to reduce youth violence.