Charlotte, N.C. – A regular presence in the Beatties Ford Road Corridor is what helps bring trust to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Alternatives to Violence team.
On Saturday, Oct. 30, the ATV team spent the afternoon grilling hot dogs and hamburgers, passing out personal protective equipment (PPE), educational materials and greeting anyone who stopped by to say hello at a Community Day event they hosted at the Boom In & Out Carwash on Beatties Ford Road.
“People were pulling up and stopping in their cars,” said Belton Platt, the Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. Site Supervisor of ATV. “We were being there for the people. I believe in consistency. My team is so passionate about the work over there.”
ATV is a partnership with YAP, the City of Charlotte, and Mecklenburg County, in seeking to provide alternatives to violence by mediating disputes and connecting individuals who might otherwise be involved in violence to accessible individualized economic, educational, and emotional alternative-to-violence wraparound services and tools.
The work started in the summer, and since then the team actively walks the corridor daily deescalating violence, providing help and speaking to residents. ATV also holds monthly events to establish trust and familiarity within the community. The team hosted a Community Peace and Love Fest in September.
“It benefits the mission of YAP and the ATV program, and that is building relationships in the community and furthering our credibility inside the community,” Platt added. “We were able to connect people with different resources (during the event).”
In addition to serving hot dogs and hamburgers, ATV provided chips, coleslaw, drinks, and distributed food boxes for families in need.
“Around the end of the month people don’t have food,” Platt added. “By the end of the month people are struggling and trying to make it. We wanted to be a blessing to the community. As we continue to do this work, I believe it is making tremendous end roads.”
YAP is a national nonprofit in its 46th year of operation committed to providing alternatives to youth incarceration and congregate placements. In communities in 31 states and the District of Columbia, YAP provides community-based services as an alternative to youth detention, prison and other out-of-home treatment, therapy, and care. For the past six years, YAP has been applying its unique operating principles to the Cure Violence disruption model to introduce violence interruption programs to cities across the U.S.
In addition to the ATV program, YAP also has a youth justice program, which works with youth and their families to provide alternatives to incarceration, and wraparound services such as employment, housing, and behavioral health.