A new training program launched Dec. 15 at the Boys & Girls Club on Hamilton Street that will serve as a preventative measure against youth violence, enabling teens to better respond when faced with a confrontation.
The Just(ice) In Time Training is provided by Snell & Associates Consultants and funded through two financial partners, National Grid and the Jim & Juli Boeheim Foundation. The program will teach a street team of outreach workers strategies to engage, educate and equip at-risk youth in handling volatile situations.
“Violence doesn’t start overnight,” Chief of Police Frank Fowler said during the event’s press conference. “So it’s not going to end overnight, and we know we need to take a multifaceted approach.”
Mayor Stephanie Minor added that this new program is yet another effort for potential solutions and a strategy to improve communication between community stakeholders, youth and law enforcement.
In her remarks, Mayor Miner shared that she was recently asked by a sixth grader, “What causes violence?”
Her response: “It is due to a breakdown in communication.” She believes this new training will unite community partners into a collective voice against violence.
“The worst thing we can do as a community when violence happens is remain silent,” she said.
The training is partnering with other community groups in an effort to provide expansive avenues to reach at-risk youth. Partners include: the Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse, Brady Faith Center, National Action Network, Nation of Islam, Salvation Army, Syracuse City School District, Syracuse Model Neighborhood Facility and Syracuse Parks & Recreation.
Juli Boeheim spoke for the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation and said they were eager to support this training to prevent further violence in the community.
“This is about hope,” she said.
The training came in response to national incidents between black male youth and law enforcement and recent increases in violence and the number of shootings locally.
The training will utilize role play to educate youth of their legal rights and responsibilities when encountering confrontations with other youth and even with police. The hope is learning from scenarios based on real life situations will prepare youth to handle situations, if and when they arise, and respond appropriately to prevent encounters from escalating.
“This training is about saving lives and saving souls,” said Isaac Snell, Jr., president of Snell & Associates Consultants, a firm based in Buffalo Grove, Ill., which is providing the training.
The training began this morning and continued throughout the day with local outreach workers including Syracuse’s Team ANGEL, Trauma Response Team, community center leaders and others. The next step is for implementation and outreach. Snell said the program can launch as soon as the street team is ready and is open to any youth in the community.
— By Ashley Kang, The Stand director