Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $1,200,000)
Charity Apostolic Church
No Shots Fired Abstract
Many young people who are considered high-risk may be drawn to gangs as a way to satisfy their need for belonging, protection, and influence. The allure of perceived wealth, status, and respect that gangs may offer can also be enticing. Additionally, some of these young people may turn to gangs as a way to cope with the challenges of poverty, abuse, neglect, or other traumatic experiences they may have faced. In certain areas, gangs may be viewed as the only source of resources and support available to them, making it a seemingly necessary option to survive and thrive.
No Shots Fired (NSF) support services are a holistic approach to addressing the needs and challenges that high-risk youth and adults experience in underserved communities, most often leading to gang violence involvement. NSF employs ex-gang members (credible messengers) who are out of the lifestyle, have restored themselves and now fighting for the mission to end gang violence. These individuals go back into their community to speak with individuals that are still active and others that are retired from the lifestyle, with the goal of educating and mentoring them with various facets of their life, especially with their mentality to exit the gang culture. Sometimes these activities happen in organic conversations on park benches, on their turf, breaking up gang violence, and basic street outreach from the rapport and name the ex-gang members built for themselves in their past. Additionally, NSF is also able to respond to shootings that have occurred through the San Diego Police Department. When possible, are able to provide traditional CBT support through interactive journaling for those willing to participate in a structured weekly or bi-weekly session with one of credible messengers who have been trained to deliver the curriculum. On average, NSF has 80 supportive services annually.
San Diego has been one of the most impacted areas for gang activity, as several chapters originated in Los Angeles, traveling down to San Diego for additional chapters. Billions of dollars are spent annually on aftercare from violence and this would be a way for taxpayers to know their dollars are contributing to prevent and intervene gang violence. NSF also holds “Seasons of Peace,” in which there are several events and outreach activities designed to ask gang members to cease fire, which happens throughout the year through community peace walks, street side memorial services, peace meals and organized outreach and grave side memorial services. On average, NSF engages in 95 outreach activities annually.