Charlotte, N.C. – More than 250 kids will go back to school with backpacks and school supplies from the Alternatives to Violence (ATV) team. ATV, a collaboration between the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc., and Cure Violence Global, launched a year ago in response to reducing violence in Charlotte’s Beatties Ford Road corridor.
“I think it was a wonderful event for the community because there are some households that may need one or two additional items,” said Ron’Jent Davis who came with her 15 year-old daughter Avahna, a student at North Mecklenburg High School. “It’s nice to have an event in our neighborhood. I’ve seen (ATV) on Beatties Ford Road hosting other events that they have for the community, and they’re doing a lot of great things to make change in that corridor.”
The Back-to-School event was sponsored by LISC Charlotte, which generously donated $2,500 to purchase the backpacks for the community. Additionally, Fifth Third Bank donated 50 backpacks and school supplies, and Atrium Health donated 75 hand sanitizers and other materials for students.
YAP, a national nonprofit in 33 states and the District of Columbia, has a 47-year history of providing community-based services as an alternative to youth incarceration, out-of-home child welfare, behavioral health, and intellectual disabilities placements, and neighborhood violence. YAP administers the ATV with the Cure Violence model, which uses methods and strategies associated with disease control to detect and interrupt conflicts; identify and treat the highest risk individuals and change social norms. The ATV team also supports the community by helping to connect residents to economic, educational, and emotional tools.
Among the parents in attendance was Luis Realleggno, who expressed his appreciation of the event as he picked up backpacks and supplies for his three daughters who are entering seventh-grade, third grade and pre-kindergarten.
The ATV team includes a site supervisor and team members – frontline violence interrupters and outreach workers who are deeply rooted as volunteers, activists, and advocates in the Beatties Ford Road corridor where most of them grew up or went to high school.
To learn more about YAP visit www.yapinc.org or follow us on Twitter at @YAPInc.