Chicago – Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. introduced its new Washington Heights Violence Interruption Program during a Community Resource and Vendor Fair on April 23. The event unveiled the new program where neighborhood-based YAP Advocates, trained to interrupt violence and provide wraparound services as an alternative, will provide street outreach aimed to resolve disputes, and diffuse conflict among youths and young adults.
YAP, a national nonprofit in 32 states and the District of Columbia, partners with youth justice, child welfare, behavioral health and other systems to provide community-based wraparound services as an alternative to youth incarceration, congregate placements, and neighborhood violence.
The Community Resource and Vendor Fair was a celebration of YAP Chicago’s newest Violence Interruption initiative which will connect youth and residents with economic, educational, and emotional resources and information. The community event provided attendees with local resources, information about the services YAP provides, and an opportunity for attendees to shop with area vendors.
“This event was a great opportunity for members of Washington Heights to learn about our Violence Interruption Program and the work we are doing to help keep the community safe,” said Program Director Ken Lewis. “It was a great opportunity to let people know YAP’s secret sauce — that the best alternative to violence is empowering young people to see their strengths and connecting them and their families with individualized tools to set their lives on a positive course.”
In Chicago for 15 years, in 2016, YAP also began partnering with Children’s Home and Aid to deliver Choose to Change (C2C), which engages students heavily impacted by trauma and violence. University of Chicago Crime Lab and Education Lab random control trial data found C2C is reducing violent crimes by 48%. The program recently received funding from the City of Chicago and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to enable staff to train four other nonprofits, expanding services to reach up to 1,000 students by the end of 2022.
Learn more about YAP at www.yapinc.org and follow the organization on Twitter @yapinc.