Research funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that street outreach workers can be an effective strategy to reach and engage youth with the goal of violence prevention and intervention. Street workers are typically members of the community who intervene to prevent conflict and retaliation, and in some programs, also connect individuals with needed services, such as housing and job training.
The study evaluated the program run by the United Teen Equality Center in Lowell, Mass., a city of 105,167 residents north of Boston. This program used a process of peacemaking, which typically involves engaging gang leaders in conflict mediation, convening peace circles, participating in peace summits, and organizing a peace council.
The results are published in the Fall 2010 issue of Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action. For more information about the study click here
Normer Adams is Executive Director of the Georgia Association of Homes and Services for Children and a writer, speaker and consultant on family and social issues such as advocacy, lobbying, and child welfare policy. Learn more at www.gahsc.org/