Roanoke, Va. – After eight months, three staff from Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. Roanoke Valley, Va., completed certification in professional development and youth violence prevention training from the Flourish Agenda.
Program Director Breyon Fraction, Therapist Ashley Schutrum and Senior Advocate Megan Doyle received Flourish Agenda’s Healing Centered Engagement certification. The Flourish Agenda is a national nonprofit consulting firm that works with youth-serving organizations and other agencies striving to allow young people to flourish; and the certification is an online course for those who work with minority youth. The certification provides attendees with training scenarios, learning activities, supplemental learning resources and more according to the website.
“We’ve been focusing on strengthening the support and infrastructure for frontline workers and community stakeholders serving youth violence prevention initiatives,” said Fraction. “We have other activities planned with the city as well.”
YAP is a national nonprofit in 35 states and Washington, D.C., that partners with youth justice, child welfare, behavioral health, and public safety systems to deliver unique evidence-based youth and family wraparound services in homes, schools, and other community sites as an alternative to youth incarceration and residential care. YAP also partners with cities across the U.S. to use its model as part of their public safety strategy to curb neighborhood violence.
YAP Roanoke has a youth justice program where young people are provided with a neighborhood-based Advocate who supports their families with economic, emotional and education wraparound support; along with a behavioral health program where youth are supported with intensive-therapy.
The training was made possible through a $25,000 Gun Violence Funding grant awarded by the City of Roanoke’s American Rescue Plan Act Funds. YAP staff were among a cohort of people who started the training in March and completed it in October. The Flourish Agenda was founded by Professor Shawn Ginwright, Ph.D., who is the Jerome T. Murphy Professor of the Practice at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
“We are now working on a comprehensive strategy to engage the community with city officials,” Fraction added. “YAP’s dedication to making Roanoke safer and the city’s commitment to youth development is important as we embark on this journey together.”