Baltimore, MD – Violence interrupters from cities across the U.S. will gather in Baltimore with their national program leadership for unique hands-on training (HOT) classes. The 40 trainees, many of whom are formerly incarcerated adults committed to giving back to their communities and demonstrating that change is possible, are employees of Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc.
The Hands-on Training (HOT) sessions will be led by international trainer, practitioner, and violence interdiction expert, professor Aquil Basheer of the Professional Community Intervention Training Institute (PCITI) in Los Angeles. Upon completing the four-day training, attendees will receive PCITI’s Violence Interdiction Professional Certification and be included in the national collaboration of Professional Peacebuilders-CVI specialists.
YAP is a national nonprofit in 32 states and the District of Columbia with a 46-year history of reducing recidivism and keeping communities safer by delivering effective, more racially equitable community-based services as an alternative to youth incarceration and congregate child welfare and behavioral health placements. With a recently announced program in Charleston, S.C. and violence interruption and prevention services in Baltimore, Chicago, Charlotte (a partnership with the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and Cure Violence Global), Dallas and Washington, DC, YAP is also growing its partnerships with U.S. cities looking to transform their public safety systems. YAP combines evidence-based violence interruption models with its own evidence-based wraparound services model of hiring and training neighborhood-based Advocates and behavioral health professionals to deliver youth and family services that empower program participants with tools to see their strengths and achieve positive goals.
“Driven by our motto of keeping the ‘public’ in public protection -- for more than 35 years, PCITI has provided intensive gun, gang, group intervention and peacemaking services throughout the U.S. and globally,” Dr. Basheer said. “As YAP partners with more cities to apply their time-tested wraparound services approach to decrease violence, we are honored to partner & offer and very much appreciate the significance of this national training in building a foundation for transforming public safety, justice and social services systems to be more effective and equitable.”
YAP is leveraging its national capacity to support the nonprofit’s local violence interruption teams, recently naming Fred Fogg as National Director of Violence Prevention. Fogg, who has built and led more than a dozen of YAP’s youth justice and child welfare program, works closely with his colleague Baltimore/D.C. Regional Program Director Craig Jernigan, who helped launch YAP’s Baltimore Safe Streets and Group Violence Reduction programs and the organization’s Washington, D.C. Credible Messenger violence prevention services. Jernigan also helps programs integrate components of YAP Supported Work neighborhood business partnerships and YAPWORX employment readiness services developed and delivered for the nonprofit by social capital solutions consultant Ed DeJesus.
“The PCITI training is one of many national resources, tools and opportunities we are providing to our local programs for best practice sharing and collaboration to ensure that our violence interruption priority is employee/neighborhood safety and delivering great outcomes,” Fogg said. “These opportunities for staff to learn and connect are critical as we work with cities to implement innovative programs and services that address their communities’ unique needs. We’re committed to enhancing our teams’ ability to make our local communities and our nation safer for everyone.”
Guided by the nonprofit’s “no reject, no eject” policy, YAP’s decades of service include working with many young people whose histories include serious offenses, multiple arrests, and lengthy out-of-home placements. John Jay College of Criminal Justice research found more than 86 percent of YAP’s youth justice participants remain arrest free, and six – 12 months after completing the program, and nearly 90 percent of the youth still lived in their communities with less than five percent of participants in secure placement. Learn more about YAP at www.yapinc.org.