For the last 15 years, YAAACE has been at the forefront of Public Safety, working with government, School Boards, Post-Secondary Institutions and Community Organizations to pilot, assess and evaluate a number of violence prevention and intervention strategies. .
The University of Toronto and officials from the City of Toronto have developed the Youth Crime Risk Index which identifies neighbourhoods with a high risk of youth gang activity. The index shows that Jane-Finch has the highest risk score in Toronto. Individualized counselling, comprehensive case management, and wrap around service delivery are vital aspects of each of our programs.
*National Crime Prevention Center. “The Achievers: Positive Alternatives to Youth Gangs (PAYG)” https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/payg/payg-eng.pdf
The TO Wards Peace violence intervention strategy identifies the most lethal individuals at the center of gun violence in a community, provides them with seven-days-a-week mentoring and supportive relationships using street outreach workers (Violence Disruptors) and delivers services and supports to these individuals. TO Wards Peace is a violence intervention pilot project coordinated by the City of Toronto, BCCHC (Anchor Agency and Lead Agency), RCHC (Lead Agency) and YAAACE and Think2wice (Grassroot Agencies).
TO Wards Peace is an evidence-based violence prevention, intervention and reduction strategy which borrows from examples of best practice - Advance Peace/California U.S.A. The Advance Peace violence intervention operational framework have had significant success in violence reduction across the United States.
According to UC Berkeley Professors Jason Corburn and Amanda Fukutome-Lopez, from 2018-2019 Advance Peace zones saw an average reduction in gun related violence by 27%.TO Wards Peace employs a public health approach.
The public health perspective asks the foundational questions:
To answer these questions, public health uses a systematic, scientific approach for understanding and preventing violence. While violence prevention practitioners may not be involved in all steps, understanding each step and why they are necessary to assure the desired impact on community health is helpful in selecting and/or developing prevention strategies.
TO Wards Peace seeks to mitigate the ongoing issue of polarization (turf wars and reprisal shootings) that exist in 2 of Toronto’s most notorious communities (Jane Finch North Side/South Side and Rexdale).
YAAACE’s role as the Grassroots Agency is to put boots on the ground (1 Project Coordinator and 2 Neighbourhood Violence Disruptors). The Violence Disruptors will employ risk mitigation approaches including violence prevention/interruption. Intervention strategies will be aligned with the City of Toronto four planning pillars of the Community Safety and Well-being Framework: Incident Response, Risk Mitigation, Prevention and Social Development.
The "Take Back Your World" is an initiative led by a consortium of agencies: Youth Association for Academics Athletics and Character Education (YAAACE), Urban Rez Solutions Social Enterprise, and One by One Movement Inc.
The consortium of agencies will establish a comprehensive engagement model based on each agency's expertise and consultation with community stakeholders. The project will make Social Services more accessible to critical Black MVP youth populations in Rexdale, Jane-Finch, and East Scarborough.
The program will provide violence prevention strategies (academic intervention strategies to children and youth, expanded opportunities, reflective services and cultural consideration of care, mentorship etc.; employment readiness workshops; a 36-week culturally relevant life skills and resiliency program called R.E.A.L. School; and one-on-one case management.
The objective of this program is to reduce the risk factors for youth becoming involved in gun or gang violence, as well as supporting those in conflict with the Criminal Justice System, and not in education, employment, or training (N.E.E.T).
The “Peace Core New Narrative Initiative” is a comprehensive approach to address the variables exacerbating gun and gang violence, including daily mentoring to those at the highest risk and the prevention of violence through the promotion of social inclusion and civic engagement through academic and recreational opportunities.
The project is a multi-sectoral community-driven direct intervention initiative for an identified priority population. The focus of programs and services are aimed at violence prevention and intervention, particularly in racialized communities such as the Jane and Finch neighbourhood in Northwest Toronto.
The priorities of this project will include:
1. Family Support;
2. Learning and Education Training;
3. Case Management/ Public Safety, Violence Prevention & Intervention; and
4. Employment training/support.
The Peace Core New Narrative Initiative is a comprehensive Public Health approach to address the variables exacerbating the gun violence epidemic. Public Health is the science of reducing and preventing injury, disease, and death and promoting the health and well-being of populations through the use of data, research, and effective policies and practices. Public health works to address the underlying causes of a disease or injury before they occur, promote healthy behaviours, and control the spread of outbreaks. A Public Health approach to prevent gun violence is a population level approach that addresses both firearm access and the factors that contribute to and protect from gun violence.