Awarded Cooperative Agreement to Prevent Violence and Violence-Related Injury
Youth Empowerment Solutions for Peaceful Communities (YES) is an interdisciplinary community change project developed by The Flint Youth Violence Prevention Center’s (YVPC) academic-community partnership. Empowerment theory, positive youth development, and ecological theory guided the project development, evaluation, and plans for sustaining the work after the funding period ends.
The goals of the project are to provide youth with opportunities for meaningful involvement in preventing youth violence and for creating community change; to enhance neighborhood organizations’ ability to engage youth in their activities; and to change the social and physical environment so that violence, especially among youth, can be reduced or prevented.
The project involves youth in the process of changing their community’s physical and social environments and includes three key components:
Youth empowerment activities—includes workshops for program planning, budgeting, implementation, and evaluation; opportunities to engage peers in community change efforts; development of ethnic identity and pride; and work with adults to achieve these goals.
Neighborhood organization development—helps neighborhoods create positive youth development settings and develop workshops to enhance staff skills for working with youth, and
Community development projects—encourage youth and organizations who work together. These projects include community gardening and beautification, land use and parks development, and community celebration events. Youth and neighborhood organizations that wish to participate will develop project proposals that focus on community-level change.
The project includes a quasi-experimental pre- and post-test comparison group design and analysis of multiple outcomes across levels of analysis. Using an existing community survey of two neighborhoods, the project will assess change in community norms, fear, social cohesion and social capital. The survey also will assess changes in youths’ violent attitudes, norms, and behavior; ethnic identity and pride; and mental health. The research will compare the intervention and control neighborhoods on several community-level measures— including police incident data, hospital injury reports (E-codes) and school suspension data. A process evaluation will be conducted to ensure the fidelity of the intervention and to adapt the project when issues arise. Several participating organizations have agreed to help sustain and disseminate the program if it is found to be effective.