Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. has invited longtime community volunteer and activist Derrick Battie to serve as a consultant with the nonprofit’s Dallas Cred team. Dallas Cred is the result of Mayor Eric Johnson’s Task Force on Safe Communities’ recommendation that the city implements a violence interruption program. YAP, which also provides alternatives to youth incarceration and out of-home placements, disrupts violence through building relationships and trust, mediating conflict, and connecting people with economic, emotional, and educational tools.
Known affectionately as The Legend from his days as a student athlete at South Oak Cliff High School, Battie returned to Dallas after earning a degree at Temple University where he received a basketball scholarship, playing in the NBA and overseas, and providing security services to high profile athletes. Since returning more than two decades ago, he has served as a Dallas Independent School District (DISD) employee, community leader and grassroots volunteer.
In his new consulting role, Battie will serve both as a boots-on-the-ground advisor and a strategic partner to the Dallas Cred team. He will connect youth and families, returning citizens, and others impacted by violence to the team for services. He will also bring together diverse business, government, and community leaders to participate in a Dallas Cred advisory council, where he will serve as chair.
“It has been an honor over the past few weeks getting the opportunity to work with YAP Dallas Cred Director Mar Butler and his team,” Battie said. “They are in their neighborhoods, connecting with people day and night, and I feel honored that I can offer both perspective and resources to the team to streamline their work.”
YAP operates in more than 100 communities in 31 states and the District of Columbia. Most of the programs implement the nonprofit’s unique evidence-based youth justice model to provide community-based services as an alternative to incarceration, out-of-home disability services, behavioral health, and drug treatment and other out-of-home placements. Dallas Cred is one of six YAP programs across the U.S. implementing YAP’s effective wrapround services approach to also interrupt violence.
“With more cities looking for effective ways to get young people to turn away from violence – hopefully before they get too deep into it – YAP is getting more invitations to launch programs like Dallas Cred," said YAP President Gary Ivory. “Having a community leader and activist like Derrick on board is critical to ensuring that we remain authentically connected to those we serve as well as the business, community, faith and other leaders who want to be a part of the systems change that we’re bringing.”
Battie, recipient of District Four Council Member’s Community Service award and DISD Volunteer Coordinator Award, has led anti-violence efforts that have included back-to-school events, food drives, community park clean-ups, and voter registration drives. He has also led public safety and education efforts with housing associations through which he has also served homeless youth. In addition, in conjunction with corporate leaders, Battie worked with the City of Dallas Parks and Recreation Department to help bring new green space and parks to the 75216-area code. Battie has served on numerous community committees and organizations for a better quality of life throughout North Texas.
To learn more about Dallas Cred and YAP, please visit www.yapinc.org and follow us on Twitter @yapinc.