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Community Connection and Youth Violence
Transcript of Community Connection and Youth Violence
The Relationship Between Community Connection and Youth Violence
William Travis Collins
Youth exposure to violence
The effect of violence on youth's mental health
37.9% of Youth in the U.S. have witnessed some form of violence (Barr, 2012).
The neighborhoods from which youth come from has a profound effect on their likelihood to engage in violent acts as they reach adolescence, (Antunes, 2014).
In 2004 an average of six youth, (age 10-19), were murdered each day in the U.S. In 2006, over 513,000 youth, (aged 10-19), were treated for violence-related injuries, (Widome, 2008).
Youth who are exposed to violence commonly experience the following mental health effects: PTSD, depression, dissociation, aggression, and substance abuse, (Buka, 2001).
Youth's exposure to violence can have a cumulative effect on their general mental health. This is particularly true with regards to youth who have witnessed severe violence, (robbery, shooting, stabbing), (Bell, 1993).
Preventing youth's exposure to violence is essential to promoting healthy adolescent development and strengthening the communities in which they reside.
Youth within the U.S. are far more likely to experience violence than their counterparts in most developed countries. This must be viewed as a major public health issue rather than a criminal justice issue, (Griffith, 2008).
African-American youth in low-income settings are far more likely to witness murder, (47%), than their White counterparts, (1%), (Buka, 2001).
Research indicates that successful community mobilization efforts involve several key components: a) "buy-in" within the local community so that all stakeholders are invested in the process, b) focused planning that details how local organizations and individuals will engage in the work of curbing youth violence, and c) "Mindful relationships" between community organizations, university researchers, and all other stakeholders so that every group feels heard and remains connected to the process. (Hernandez-Cordero, 2011; Le, 2011)
Other factors that contribute to successful community based organizations that attempt to curb youth violence include: building capacity within the leadership of communities and organizations, that the sharing of power is present among all stakeholders, and that there is some specific way of measuring and evaluating programs, once implemented, to provide for a system of continuous improvement (Miao, 2011; Nation, 2011).
Similar to other research, Ozer, reports within her research conducted in 2005 that strong maternal support and support from siblings can have a protective-stabilizing effect upon youth with regards to aggression and mental health issues. This study also indicated that a positive connection with school can provide some mitigating effects for youth exposed to violence, (Ozer, 2005).
Several studies indicate that parents in communities prone to violence often cite the need for support with regards to specific parenting classes and the need for wraparound services to include quality after school opportunities for their children, (Allison, 2011).
In this brief video, Anthony "Big Time" Seymour, discusses the youth violence program in the Mattapan neighborhood in Boston.
This video is a recording of the CDC's Grand Rounds conference on preventing youth violence that took place in February, 2014.
The skills inventory provides for a clear prescription for which competencies a leader may need to work on in increase their overall effectiveness.
The approach to leadership provides for a valuable template for teaching leaders the importance of listening, creative problem solving, and conflict resolution skills.
The model may not be appropriate or suitable for use outside of its original context - the military. The question remains as to whether the results garnered through research can be generalized to other organizations.
Community mobilization is a key component of reducing violence among youth. Within community mobilization, individuals within the community, as well as local organizations work together to participate in activities and devleop strategies that seek to work towards the "common good", (Kim-Ju, 2008).
Within this TedTalk Reverend Jeffrey Brown speaks to how he and members of his community worked together to reduce youth violence by 79% over an eight-year period:
Research reported in 2004, indicates that families can play a moderating role in youth's likelihood to engage in violent acts. Youth who were raised in "struggling" families were found to be more likely to witness violent acts and subsequently engage in violence. The research also indicated that youth who were raised in families that were higher functioning and ones with better parenting techniques were less likely to engage in violent acts than youth from similar communities who had witnessed violent acts, (Gorman-Smith, 2004).