National Youth Violence Prevention Week is drawing to a close, but it is important to remember that every week is youth violence prevention week for millions of youth and families who experience the risk of violence in their daily lives.
Violence is a leading cause injury and death among youth aged 10-24, but this can be prevented. We know what needs to be done. Youth need opportunities to succeed and positive role models to help them get there. They need supportive friends and family, and safe neighborhoods and schools. They need places where it is okay for them to learn to master the skills they learn in school. They need to have places where it is safe for them to explore and fail, where someone is there to pick them up and help them continue on in a positive manner. They need programs and services that keep them engaged and empower them to fulfill their potential.
All of these things are possible, but we have a lot of work to do. Researchers, health professionals, educators, policy makers, parents, communities, and of course, youth, all have a role to play. Working together, we can create a safe and healthy future for our children.