Washington, D.C. –The National Violence Prevention and Community Safety Team of Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. met with graduate students from Donau Universität in Vienna at the Austrian Embassy in the nation’s Capitol to discuss safety, policy, advocacy and systems change.
YAP is a national nonprofit in 33 states and Washington, D.C., that partners with youth justice, child welfare, behavioral health, and other systems to provide community-based alternatives to youth incarceration and congregate residential placements. YAP also partners with public safety systems to combine the nonprofit’s unique wraparound services approach with other evidence-based models to reduce violence.
Delegates included government, private sector, non-governmental organizations, academia, and one Ukrainian citizen.
National Director of Violence Prevention Fred Fogg shared with the delegation how YAP is working to interrupt violence in cities nationally including in the Carolinas, Texas, Maryland, Illinois and New Jersey, among others.
The meeting was set up by YAP’s Director of International Development Diana Matteson with support from Charles Bentil, recruitment specialist and program coordinator for one of YAP’s violence prevention programs. The programs hire and train formerly incarcerated individuals to serve as credible messengers to support other justice-involved individuals and others who are at the highest risk for engaging in violence.
“YAP’s commitment to community safety programming and system change was well-represented by the local team and National Director Fred Fogg at the Embassy of Austria in Washington D.C., in an exchange with a delegation of government and private sectors leaders from Vienna, Austria,” Matteson said. “Academics who had studied causes of high rates of community violence in the U.S.; challenges faced by returning citizens leaving incarceration, and historical racial inequities, left the exchange with unique insights on how innovative programming and system change work are being done every day by YAP to address them.”