Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $500,000)
The City of Cleveland ranks dismally high on some unfavorable lists, including the number one in America for poverty and number seven on the list of ten most violent cities in the country. In 2021, Cleveland experienced 170 homicides, closely trailing 2020’s total of 193, which was the worst year for violence in the city since 1982. Meanwhile, Cleveland’s youth are caught in the crosshairs of these issues, with nearly 50% of the city’s kids residing in poverty, and many teens and young adults choosing to arm themselves out of fear and uncertainty around the bloodshed in their community. Our agency is working to change this violent trajectory for at-risk youth. Through direct outreach and engagement, critical incident response and de-escalation, and sustained relationship-building and case management support services, CPA is providing young people with alternatives to violence and opportunities for improvement and growth, helping ensure that they remain both alive and free.
This project will expand and advance the following key area of programmatic effort for the organization: Implementation of at-risk youth/young adults as Transitional Outreach Workers (TOW) and expansion of a neighborhood focused, train-the-trainer service delivery model based on community violence data and best practices from The Professional Community Intervention Training Institute, a nationally recognized, evidence-based violence intervention training program. Youth/Young adult Transitional Outreach Workers (TOW’s) – will consist of individuals ages 15-24 who are either gang affiliated or in danger of becoming affiliated and are committed to improving their lives and advocating for peace over violence. This population will utilize their lived experiences to help craft and implement the strategy for the TOW role. These participants will also provide ongoing programmatic feedback from their direct experiences as TOW’s, helping guide program development and refinement. These activities allow residents to regain a sense of ownership in the safety and success of their communities.