Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $998,708)
Since 2015 when Wilmington, Delaware ranked third for violence among 450 US cities of comparable size and Newsweek first labeled Wilmington “Murder Town USA,” youth violence has remained a significant public health and safety concern. More concerning is the increasing number of middle and high school students engaging in violence. There has been a significant increase in gun violence and youth gun violence in Wilmington over the past two years, and more specifically in the neighborhood where the Community Education Building is located. Not surprisingly, violence in school, on school buses, and on routes to and from school is correspondingly increasing with community violence. Youth who experience violence as a victim, perpetrator, or witness are likely to experience toxic stress that negatively impacts healthy development and threatens the future of our youth. Youth violence disproportionately impacts African American youth in underserved neighborhoods where most of our students live. This grant will support 1,000 middle and high school students attending school at the CEB in Wilmington, their families, and their communities. The goal of this project is to provide immediate interventions to middle and high school students most at risk for engaging in violence to reduce incidences of school violence and minimize the negative impact that school violence has on youth. CEB will bring together several partners, including two public charter schools, the United States Attorney, District of Delaware, Delaware Department of Education, the Wilmington Police Department, and several community groups to create an integrated system of support for 50 middle and high school students. Using holistic case management, we employ school-based universal and targeted student interventions that are aligned with the strategies outlined in the CDC’s technical package for preventing youth violence. We will: 1) implement a universal school based SEL/violence prevention program including trauma informed de-escalation training for staff; 2) provide holistic, integrated, case management services so that each student will receive direct one-on-one support of a community-based advocate, mentoring, tutoring, opportunities for enrichment, and extended recreation; 3) provide families with life coaching and connections to services and supports that lead to economically and socially thriving families; 4) offer enrichment and extended afterschool opportunities for students; and 5) support safe routes to school.