Together As One

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In 2007, as a response to escalating violence among neighborhood rivalries, YouthPlaces coordinated a grassroots effort focused on high-risk young men, ages 16-25, during the summer months. This summer project evolved into the Together As One Initiative, which seeks to decrease violence through innovative intervention, outreach, mediation, and prevention activities, as well as career development strategies for young men to address violence long-term. Together As One outreaches to young men at risk of increased violence, actively involved in violence, and/or re-assimilating to life post-incarceration.

Summer Community Service Project: Annually, Together As One coordinates the Summer Community Service Project (SCSP); an approach to connecting young adults, 16-25, who are most at risk of violence and engages them in community service work experiences within their own neighborhoods. Each summer, approximately 500 young men are recruited for participation in the six week long, 4-6 hours a day, summer project, in neighborhood specific work crews.

Roundtables: An essential element of Together As One has been the development and sustained participation of the Leadership Roundtable, which identifies and convenes leaders from targeted neighborhoods, who are former gang leaders or were involved in violence previously. Providing the leadership for Together As One, Roundtable members serve as the frontline for actively addressing escalating conflicts and violence in our communities, as well as outreaching to other high-risk young adults and work to develop effective program activities.

Career Development: An integral part of Together As One is connecting isolated, disenfranchised young men to opportunities that will further their development and re-engage them in positive opportunities, such as long-term employment and post-secondary training and education. To facilitate these opportunities, Together As One’s comprehensive career development strategy utilizes regional partnerships and relationships with community organizations and businesses to link participants to training, education, and employment, and serves as the conduit for young men to develop the skills, to receive the support, and to navigate barriers in order to successfully move forward in career paths.

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