Pictured: Kwasi Amponsa, YAP ATV Program Manager, Mecklenburg County, N.C.
Charlotte, N.C. -- A Community Safety Solutions Project grant from The Just Trust is enabling Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. to strengthen the impact of its expanding Alternatives to Violence (ATV) violence interruption work. Selected in 2021 by the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County to launch ATV with services in the Beatties Ford Road Corridor, YAP recently received an additional contract to manage a similar community safety program in the West Boulevard Corridor, one of two new Charlotte and Mecklenburg County ATV sites.
The Just Trust, a philanthropic organization dedicated to scaling, aligning, and deploying criminal justice reform resources, supports bold models for preventing crime, repairing harm, centering accountability, and building stronger, safer communities.
“Support from The Just Trust is enabling YAP to bolster the capacity and impact of our ATV services through enhanced program management, which will streamline best practice sharing; community leadership and resource collaborations; and trauma-informed support for participants and staff,” said YAP National Director of Community-Based Safety Initiatives Fred Fogg. “With our services now in two Charlotte neighborhoods, dedicated local YAP ATV program leadership with strong community ties will be key to enhancing our teams’ opportunities to engage with neighborhood residents while ensuring efficient data collection, reporting, and analysis.”
YAP is a 48-year-old national nonprofit in 35 states and Washington, DC that delivers and advocates for safe and effective community-based alternatives to residential care and incarceration that empower individuals, families, and neighborhoods to thrive. In recent years, the nonprofit has combined its evidence-based individual and family wraparound services model with evidence-based violence prevention approaches to support public safety through addressing root causes of violence in municipalities across the U.S.
Guided by the Cure Violence Global public health conflict mediation model, YAP ATV staff members receive training to interrupt violence and facilitate mediation among residents, while connecting individuals ages 14- 25 who are at the highest risk for violence engagement with economic, emotional, and educational services that give them alternatives to violence. This includes individuals who have had contact with the justice system, been involved with gangs and/or were recently released from prison. With safety as the team’s priority, members also build bonds in the neighborhoods they serve with day-to-day canvassing and community events. YAP ATV staff members, who have roots in the neighborhood they serve, are considered credible messengers, as many of them were formerly justice-involved.
In 2022, YAP’s Beatties Ford Road ATV team worked directly with 46 of the highest-risk individuals in that community who were either victims or perpetrators of violence in the Beatties Ford Road Corridor. The six-person team facilitated 44 violence interruptions, with 100% of the individuals served choosing to not retaliate or commit a violent offense. The team logged approximately 13,700 engagements with residents through community activities, education, and training opportunities; and hosted neighborhood events, including resource fairs, back-to-school giveaways, cookouts, and healing and commemorative activities.
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 86 % of YAP’s youth justice participants remain arrest-free, and six – 12 months after completing the program nearly 90% of youth served still lived in their communities with less than 5% of participants in secure placement.
About YAP: Founded in 1975, YAP partners with youth justice, child welfare, behavioral health, education, public safety, and other systems in nearly 150 communities in 35 states and the District of Columbia. Our mission is to deliver and advocate for safe and effective community-based alternatives to residential care and incarceration that empower individuals, families, and neighborhoods to thrive Learn more about YAP at www.YAPInc.org.
About The Just Trust: Founded in 2021, The Just Trust is 100% dedicated to scaling, aligning, and deploying resources to criminal justice reform in the United States. It is made up of The Just Trust for Education, a 501(c)(3), and The Just Trust for Action, a 501(c)(4). Visit TheJustTrust.org for more information.