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Make it Happen: Addressing Trauma Among Young Men of Color

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $958,679)

The Office for Victims of Crime’s (OVC) Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services Final Report (Vision 21) envisions that “all crime victims in the 21st century can readily access a seamless continuum of evidence-based services and support that will allow them to begin physical, emotional, and financial recovery.” However, Vision 21 recognizes there are serious challenges to achieving this goal. Improving the field’s understanding of violence and trauma and their effects on survivors are among these challenges. To this end, OVC collaborated with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to release the FY 15 Supporting Male Survivors of Violence solicitation. The solicitation sought to enhance the services available to male survivors of violence, particularly boys and men of color, and their families, by funding demonstration projects that put in place evidence-based models and practices to provide trauma-informed, comprehensive services and supporting policies for these survivors and their families. OVC and OJJDP used this solicitation to competitively select 12 demonstration sites from across the country to meet this need.

The Fund for the City of New York/Center for Court Innovation will use this award to expand the Safe Our Streets (SOS) and Make It Happen programs in the Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhoods in Brooklyn. As part of the SOS program, outreach workers and violence interrupters connect as positive role models to young men likely to be involved in community violence. The outreach workers use motivational interviewing techniques and positive peer pressure to move youth away from harmful choices and toward healthy options. These efforts are paired with the Make It Happen program, established in 2012, to add a trauma-focused component to SOS and build bridges among traditional victim service programs, agencies serving young men of color, and survivors. Make It Happen has filled a significant service gap, as violence interrupter programs both nationally and in Brooklyn did not previously address survivor's trauma and traditional victim service agencies do not often focus on this survivor group. Building on the success of the first three years of operation, SOS and Make It Happen will be enhanced by: 1) convening an Advisory Board to inform their work; 2) hiring a case manager to address participants immediate needs; 3) providing victim services through a part-time social worker based in the Kings County District Attorney's Office Victim Services Unit; 4) evaluating program effectiveness and strategies for engaging participants' families; and, 5) reviewing the Make It Happen curriculum and associated programming for sensitivity to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer populations. Staff will promote interdisciplinary partnerships among service providers by hosting roundtables addressing men's trauma and related issues, conducting training for outreach workers and interrupters, and planning an annual conference with a multidisciplinary group of stakeholders to discuss recovery and healing for young men of color harmed by violence.


Date Created: September 29, 2015