Urban Teens Propose Violence Prevention Strategies

When urban teens were asked to identify solutions for reducing violence in their New Haven, Connecticut community, their recommendations were loud and clear: They hoped for better employment opportunities, more after-school activities, and a cleaner city environment.

The teens’ suggestions are the culmination of a unique project called Youth Haven in which 12 youth ambassadors between the ages of 16 and 18 were recruited from city public schools for their interest in violence prevention.

As part of the project, the teens held a citywide Youth Congress in an effort to hear and discuss other teens’ ideas on how to reduce community violence. Each group was led by a youth ambassador and facilitated by adult academic and community partners. Among teens attending the conference, 61 percent reported having a family member who had been killed by an act of violence, and 81 percent said a family member had been hurt by an act of violence.

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