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Central Falls and Pawtucket launch new nonviolence programs to keep youth safe

For Immediate Release: May 27, 2021
Contact: Sarah Dell, 401.871.9048, sdell@advocacysolutionsllc.com

Central Falls and Pawtucket launch new nonviolence programs to keep youth safe
Central Falls to fund new full-time nonviolence outreach specialist and partner with Pawtucket for nonviolence summer program for youth


CENTRAL FALLS, RI – Today outside of Central Falls High School before a youth employment and resources jobs fair, the Cities of Central Falls and Pawtucket announced new nonviolence programs and youth opportunities in an effort to enhance youth safety and engagement leading up to the summer months.
 
“I’m motivated to make sure we are doing all we possibly can for our youth so they feel safe, supported, and productive. We need to identify and divert conflicts before they become devastating acts of violence, and direct our youth to positive pathways and opportunities,” said Central Falls Mayor Maria Rivera. “Our city is hiring a new full-time Nonviolence Outreach Specialist through The Nonviolence Institute who will work directly in our city, and launching a partnership with Pawtucket to provide nonviolence training and mentorship to at-risk youth. Nothing is more important than keeping our youth, families, and streets safe."

The new Central Falls Nonviolence Outreach Specialist will be led by an individual who has an intimate knowledge of street conflicts, and work closely on intervention strategies that can save lives. This full-time worker will focus on Central Falls youth, identifying potential risks and paths to nonviolence. From spending time in locations where youth congregate and building important relationships with at-risk youth, to referring violence-impacted youth and their families to resources in the community (like employment, school, housing, food, and other positive activities), the goal is to help youth who may be walking on unstable ground be redirected toward nonviolence, stability, and a positive path in life.

The new nonviolence position is not the only new nonviolence program aimed to help local youth. The City of Pawtucket and Central Falls together are partnering with The Nonviolence Institute to launch a 7-week nonviolence summer program for high-risk youth, approximately 30 hours a week, where students will receive nonviolence training, resume building workshops, career building opportunities and paid internships with the cities. Each participant will spend approximately 30 hours a week in the focused program.

"We are pleased to be continuing our summer youth program with The Nonviolence Institute and will be working now with Central Falls to expand that program in a new partnership," said Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien. "I thank Cedric and everyone at the Institute for working with us again to help the students of Pawtucket and Central Falls and give them beneficial opportunities to thrive."

“The Nonviolence Institute is pleased to partner with Central Falls and Pawtucket – our Three Cities Project has been building momentum through a collaborative process to engage organizations and services while building relationships that support youth in both communities,” said Cedric Huntley Executive Director of The Nonviolence Institute. We would especially like to thank Mayor Rivera for her commitment in funding an additional Outreach Specialist as we address issues of diversion, violence prevention, and Intervention, and both Mayors Rivera and Grebien for their important leadership and partnership as we continue our mission in addressing violence through nonviolence solutions and training. Today’s Summer Opportunities Fair at Central Falls High School is a great example of important engagement and investment in our youth.”

As new nonviolence programs and opportunities are rolled out for youth, the Central Falls Police Department is ramping up its community engagement work to continue building positive relationships with residents and families.

“Our Central Falls Police Department is dedicated to the safety of our residents, families, and broader community,” said Central Falls Police Colonel Anthony Roberson. “Ramping up our community engagement and community policing, and working in partnership with a number of organizations like the Nonviolence Institute, the Prevention Coalition, schools, and athletic organizations like Project GOAL, will help our department build positive, trusted relationships with our youth. We need to do all we can to prevent violence in our city. Keeping our streets and our kids safe this summer is a top priority."

The City of Central Falls is launching www.centralfallsri.gov/safeyouth to begin maintaining a list of youth opportunities for a safe summer.

“I'm excited about today's announcement, and thankful for the action taken by Central Falls Mayor, Maria Rivera, and Pawtucket Mayor, Donald Grebien, to provide important programming and support to our youth this summer,” said Central Falls Councilwoman Tatiana Baena, Director of Enrichment Opportunities for the Central Falls School District. “As summer approaches, we must ensure that our youth have meaningful and positive opportunities to engage with each other and our communities. Through my work with the city, I stand committed to continuing to provide our youth with the resources they need to get ahead and stay safe, not only in the summer, but during out of school time as well.”

"Establishing partnership programs with local community based organizations is a step in the right direction towards building a safer and more supportive community for the next generation of Pawtucket residents," said Pawtucket Community Board Chair Charles Carvalho. "We have an amazing opportunity to provide this resource because of the partnership with the Nonviolence Institute. We must continue to build with the community, amplify their voices, and be both brave and creative in establishing more opportunities for our local youth."

“As a parent to a newborn 10 days ago, as a coach, as a mentor, as a leader to this community, I know that we have to prioritize our kids, and making sure we figure out the safest way possible to keep them away from the streets,” said Manny Silva, Nonviolence Outreach Specialist, youth program leader, and coach. “We have to build our relationships and trust with this community.”

“Now more than ever it’s important to create initiatives that build stronger communities and protects our youth,” said Central Falls City Council President Jessica Vega.

For more information, visit www.centralfallsri.gov/safeyouth.

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Sarah Dell, Managing Director
Advocacy Solutions LLC
4 Richmond Square, Suite 300
Providence, RI 02906-5117
C: 401-871-9048
www.advocacysolutionsllc.com

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