Prevention Strategy

The multi-level approach to youth violence prevention involved implementing and evaluating six initiatives that focus on individual, family and community level changes. These programs were designed to enhance healthy development, strengthen family relationships, build inter-generational ties, and improve neighborhood conditions.

Intervention Grid

Intervention ApproachFocus of Intervention
UniversalYouth Empowerment SolutionsFathers & SonsClean & Green
High RiskProject SyncMentoringCommunity Mobilization

Clean and Green

Lead Organization: Genesee County Land Bank

The MI-YVPC partnered with the Genesee County Land Bank to provide support to improve vacant properties within the MI-YVPC program area. The Genesee County Land Bank aims to restore value to the community by acquiring, developing and selling vacant abandoned properties, and this mission is carried out through several programs that partner with residents to improve the appearance and quality of vacant land in Genesee County. Clean and Green and Adopt a Lot are two of the Land Bank's programs that engage neighborhood residents and community organizations in the beautification and maintenance of vacant parcels.  Each participating group or organization maintains at least 25 parcels and in exchange, receives a stipend that they can use to support their work.  Some groups use their stipend to purchase equipment necessary for maintaining their parcels while some use the funding to employ youth and community residents to tend the properties. Several Land Bank-owned parcels in  Flint and Genesee County have been transformed into community gardens or recreations paces with decorative split rail fencing an raised garden beds.

The Land Bank controls more than 4,000 vacant properties, over 500 of which are in the the MI-YVPC intervention neighborhood.

Community Mobilization

Lead Organization: Michigan State University School of Criminal Justice

Utilizing the skills and expertise of the students and faculty from the MSU School of Criminal Justice, the MI-YVPC Community Mobilization program provides support to the Flint Police Department and neighborhood groups.  Community Mobilization has three main areas of focus: Distributing crime data analyses; convening community discussions; and engaging neighborhood organizations.

The key activities were to:

  1. Conduct community forums on topics such as neighborhood relationships, crime trends, perceptions of law enforcement, and neighborhood activism
  2. Meet with Flint Police to share and discuss results of data analyses and community forums
  3. Share "real time crime data analyses with community groups and residents and coordinate efforts with law enforcement to prevent crime
  4. Provide technical assistance to neighborhood organizations to assist with community improvement and crime prevention activities.

Neighborhood beautification activities were organized for tire recycling, graffiti removal, tree planting and involvement in these improvement efforts also led to the formation a new block club.

Fathers and Sons

Lead Organization: Flint Odyssey House Health Awareness Center

The  Fathers and Sons program is a community based intervention designed to prevent violence and other negative health behaviors among youth ages 10-14 by strengthening relationships between African American fathers and their sons. The program aims to enhance fathers' parenting knowledge, attitudes and behaviors, father-son communication, father-son connectedness, cultural awareness, sons' refusal skills and fathers' use of community resources. Fathers and sons came together twice a week for 6 weeks to participate in the program.

Project Sync

Lead organization: Hurley Medical Center Emergency Department

Project Sync is a brief intervention program that provides one-on-one counseling to youth ages 14-20 when they present to the emergency department for any reason.  Base on principles of Motivational Interventions, Project Sync counselors engage with the participants to recognize risky behaviors and increase their motivation to change, in a non-confrontational and non-judgmental manner. The one-on one counseling approach emphasizes individual choice and responsibility, supports self-efficacy, and differentiates between current behvaior and future goals/values.  It also allows the counselor to assess the youth's risk for violence, roll with resistance and increase problem recognition.

Targeted Outreach Mentoring

Lead Organization: Boys and Girls Club of Greater Flint

The Boys and Girls Club of Greater flint provided a mentoring and case management program for youth ages 10-17 who lived in the intervention area. Mentoring is an effective way to build a postive relationship between a child and an adult, has been shown to promote positive behaviors among youth and has been associated with less violent behavior. Youth were connected with a mentor at the beginning of the program who assessed their interests and goals. The mentor helped connect the youth to community resources and opportunities for exploring and reaching their individual goals.  Youth met with their mentors regularly to check in and discuss progress towards their goals. The program typically lasted 6 months to one year.  Youth were also encouraged to enroll in other Boys and Girls Club and MI-YVPC programs.

Youth Empowerment Solutions (YES)

Lead Organization: Church without Walls

The YES program promotes positive development and prevents risky behaviors among youth by empowering them to change their physical and social environments.  During a 16-week curriculum, youth engage in activities focused on leadership, cultural identity, community assessment, program planning and resource mobilization and are given opportunities for meaningful community involvement. Throughout the program, the youth are connected with community leaders and supported by other trained adult advocates who provide assistance and mentorship. Each YES group plans and carries out community improvement projects, which have included public performances, neighborhood clean-ups, outdoor murals, community gardens, and playground improvements.

In 2013, YES participants talked with Congressman Dan Kildee about living in Flint and their ideas for a safer future.