"Cure the Streets" Program - Wards 7 & 8

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In 2019, the homicide rate in the District of Columbia reached 166 according the the Metropolitan Police Department website. While the crime trends are a challenge to understand and mitigate, ACM as well as other community-based organizations, work hard to understand the causes of these trends by utilizing the community and their knowledge of occurrences that can lead to violence. There are two areas of focus for the Cure the Streets program: Ward 7 and Ward 8.

The Ward 7 team launched a 20-day treaty to end the rivalry between Benning Park and Benning Terrace which has been ongoing for the last 25 years. The truce has lasted for over 12 years. Effective March 2020, no shootings have occurred in this area in the last 86 days. This is a direct result of community engagement.

Various efforts for the youth including job placement and updating their identification, are instrumental in creating positive attitudes and productive actions by the youth. The Ward 8 team which includes Washington Highlands, has successfully brought together three communities to stop shootings over the last 36 days. The residents of Atlantic Terrace, Southern Hills and Atlantic Gardens neighborhoods have endured a long standing dispute and through community engagement, the negative factors that would normally lead to violence in these areas has been diffused.

Community engagement events include coat drives for the youth, a Safe Passage initiative where members of Cure the Streets make sure kids have a safe route home from school in the afternoon and adult bingo for the families.

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The Credible Messenger Program

ACM members speaking to outdoor crowd
The Credible Messenger program is one of the major initiatives managed by the Alliance of Concerned Men (ACM) under the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DYRS). The mission of the initiative is to connect all young people in the care and custody of DYRS to healthy homes and supportive communities, and to provide preventive supports to all youth in Washington, D.C.

This program is a transformative, mentoring, intervention program for youth committed to the agency with a restorative justice philosophy for young people in the community at large. Credible Messengers mentor the youth who have been charged with felonies. All youth are a priority, and each Credible Messenger is assigned youth to mentor.

The program model involves mentors working closely with the youth – face-to-face or by telephone – on a consistent basis to encourage their progress and daily productivity while in school and participating in any group or special activity. In addition, Credible Messengers attend their parent teacher meetings in schools, strategizing and assisting with their extra curriculum activities as well as personal life coaching and developmental programs.

ACM Credible Messengers host group meetings once a week for the youth. The meetings primary goals are focused on creating healing circles for the group and a healthy fresh meal is provided.

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Credible Messengers were stationed at designated DC Public Schools – Coolidge and Ballou – to hand out lunches for the youth. According to the School Nutrition Association (SNA) 29.8 million students were provided school lunches in the United States in 2018 which is over 50%.

In the District of Columbia alone, 1 in 7 households experience food hardship or insecurity based on a report from the Food Research and Action Center. The efforts of our Credible Messenger team are much needed by the community and relieves the uncertainty of food sources during this time.
The Credible Messenger program is one of the major initiatives managed by the Alliance of Concerned Men (ACM) under the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DYRS). The mission of the initiative is to connect all young people in the care and custody of DYRS to healthy homes and supportive communities, and to provide preventive supports to all youth in Washington, D.C.

This program is a transformative, mentoring, intervention program for youth committed to the agency with a restorative justice philosophy for young people in the community at large. Credible Messengers mentor the youth who have been charged with felonies. All youth are a priority, and each Credible Messenger is assigned youth to mentor.

The program model involves mentors working closely with the youth – face-to-face or by telephone – on a consistent basis to encourage their progress and daily productivity while in school and participating in any group or special activity. In addition, Credible Messengers attend their parent teacher meetings in schools, strategizing and assisting with their extra curriculum activities as well as personal life coaching and developmental programs.

ACM Credible Messengers host group meetings once a week for the youth. The meetings primary goals are focused on creating healing circles for the group and a healthy fresh meal is provided.

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Credible Messengers were stationed at designated DC Public Schools – Coolidge and Ballou – to hand out lunches for the youth. According to the School Nutrition Association (SNA) 29.8 million students were provided school lunches in the United States in 2018 which is over 50%.

In the District of Columbia alone, 1 in 7 households experience food hardship or insecurity based on a report from the Food Research and Action Center. The efforts of our Credible Messenger team are much needed by the community and relieves the uncertainty of food sources during this time.
ACM members speaking to outdoor crowd

The Trauma Recovery Center

The Trauma Recovery Team is made up of four ACM employees who work within the UMC Hospital to assist victims of violence and their families. On a daily basis citizens are rushed to the hospital for various injuries. The nurses and doctors can mend the wounds or set a broken bone, however, the trauma of the experiences that landed them in the emergency room are not addressed immediately.

In the United States roughly 7 million women and 6 million men are victims of rape, physical abuse, or stalking by an intimate partner. In these cases the trauma to the body is immediately visible but the trauma to the mind is not. This is where the Trauma Recovery Team plays a pivotal role in the overall well-being of any patient and their family members who enter the emergency room for treatment.

 A TRC member will take the information of the victim and family members in order to engage with them to work through hospital paperwork, mental health services or to determine what additional services may be needed. Although these community contacts occur in the hospital, they are essential to understanding trends and demographics of violence. The TRC team has been in place for the last 2 years.

The Conflict
Resolution Manual

The Conflict Resolution Manual is a valuable tool to assist with the mitigation of conflict and violence in the community. The creation of the manual in 2018, was a joint venture between the Alliance of Concerned Men and American University.

The manual was designed to provide valuable tools and positive queues to assist youth and young adults on how to identify triggers to violence and steps toward negotiation and mitigation. Currently, additional tools are being added to the manual that will transform the manual into an instructional manual that can be used in colleges and university studies.

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"Guns for Opportunity" Program

Guns for Opportunity (GfO) – as opposed to guns for cash! – is an innovative program developed by the Alliance of Concerned Men (ACM) to introduce young citizens who turn in firearms and other weapons to a system of healing, education and training that within a period of approximately twelve months equips them with the knowledge and skills to become more responsible, productive citizens.

This project utilizes an innovative approach to youth violence prevention. It capitalizes on 23 years of experience by an award-winning community organization, The Alliance of Concerned Men (ACM), with deep knowledge of the population to be served. It is also the product of nearly a year of research and development by ACM and its Washington, DC-based partner, The School of International Service, American University (AU). It is designed to get guns off the streets of the nation’s capital by offering education and training opportunities to young people who are ready to exchange firearms for personal and professional advancement.

Guns-for-Opportunity (GfO), will serve as a gateway to a suite of services for young citizens of Washington, DC, offering them paths to psycho-social healing, education, instruction in dispute management and civil rights, and employment training. GfO is a unique initiative that is designed to reduce gun-related youth violence in urban communities by utilizing community-based mentors in a novel way that sets it apart from other gun reduction projects. The project vision is presented in the diagram below. The project objective is to create a virtuous cycle that will not only reduce the immediate causes of violence but address key structural issues that give rise to it. The project cycle includes continuous monitoring and evaluation by way of feedback loops, also captured in the diagram.

The project objective is to create a virtuous cycle that will not only reduce the immediate causes of violence but address key structural issues that give rise to it. The ultimate objective of these project elements is to build resilience, the capacity to respond to and prevent social, economic, and environmental shocks, and to foster unity in the community.

the "love more campaign"

The “Love More Campaign, allows ACM to show the face of our community while building on more family and community involvement.  When we are in the face of the community and focus on building healthy family relationship this allows the community to have voice.  We are focused of high risk youth and our seniors, by encouraging them to and share what they learned, by spreading positivity. 

 

Ultimately, this will strengthen our communities and make DC great again. Our vision is to create Healthy, Healing, Safe, Loving, Resilient, Thriving, Creative and Drug Free Communities filled with actively engaged indigenous leaders represented by the transformative voices of youth, adults and seniors.  We will be involved in more collaboration with seniors, to ensure that they are not forgotten especially during this time of COVID-19. Jovan Davis who is the program manager for Cure The Street Ward 8, is the owner of “Love More Brand”.