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San Mateo County Youth Violence Prevention Network Initiative Description Rarely do we find men who willingly engage

in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think, or think together.- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. More than ever, the opportunities for young people in our country to achieve their dreams of living a robust and resilient adult life are becoming scarce. !Violence against youth is a public health problem. !Homicide is the leading cause of death in California for youth ages 15-19. !Youth ages 12 to 17 are nearly three times more likely than adults to be victims of serious violent crimes. Both the public and many researchers believe that the best way to keep KEY FACTS youth safe is to create policies and programs that provide them with Overall, positive choices: good schools, vocational training, organized In 2009, San Mateo County sports, arts programs, and mentoring. The gang violence hitting the streets of San Mateo is part of a cycle that no one seems prepared to pay for. Across San Mateo County, law enforcement agencies are bumping up patrols and looking for funding to help quell the rise in gang violence. The sudden surge has officials scrambling for funding to aid in intervention techniques. Sheriff Munks and our city's law enforcement officers are preparing for gang activity spread further into San Mateo County. We have had a series of countywide single murders Sources: Criminal Justice Statistics including a triple murder that is purported to be gang related. It Department, California Department of doesn't take a murder to know that there is also gang or turf related Justice; San Mateo County Department of Public Health. assaults in Fair Oaks and Redwood City or San Bruno and South San Francisco. Even the tagging is spelling out an intent by gangs to take the neighborhood out of the control of its resident. These youth violent activities have a significant negative impact on the health of the youth, their parents and community as a whole. At worse, individuals participating in this behavior engage in binge drinking, substance use, unprotected sex and rape with accompanying transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, and criminal behavior. According to administrators at local schools in South San Francisco and Redwood City, the impact of youth violence and gang activity is palpable. Students claiming particular gangs have physically taken over parts of the campus preventing the free flow of students on campus. As a result students refuse to eat lunch in controlled areas and also miss classes and activities to avoid conflict. ELL students have also felt unsafe when at school leading to a variety of truancy issues. The Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center (PCRC), a non-profit organization serving San Mateo County, fosters collaborative engagement by bringing people together, facilitating conversation and building these skills in our community. PCRC seeks an experienced professional in the field of youth violence prevention to lead this dynamic and growing area of PCRCs work. Our approach to violence prevention is based in the values and core competencies associated with conflict resolution, collaboration, facilitation and community engagement. Our work is not crisis intervention or case management. We work within neighborhoods, cultural groups, schools and other communities to support community-based efforts to prevent and reduce youth violence through training, leadership development and collaboration. We facilitate relationship building
experiences a youth arrest rate of 79 per 1,000 children aged 10 to 17 for all offenses (violent & nonviolent; 63,859 total arrests). A total of 7% of youth arrests in San Mateo County are drug-related (excluding alcohol), while 6% are for violent crimes.

between community members, law enforcement and other key stakeholders. In April of this year, PCRC launched the county's first ever Violence Prevention Network. We invited approximately 250 individuals participate in continental breakfast, followed by a facilitated conversation that would focus on the establishment of an on-going Countywide Network that would exist for the following intended outcomes: to collaboratively share information and resources with one another on programs and services being offered throughout the county to explore new partnerships that may grow out of collaborations amongst service providers to allow for professional development through presentations, special guest speakers, and service providers that would enhance each of our efforts individually and collectively. to create space for on-going county-wide events or activities to take place, hosted by this collective body !We met at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation's San Mateo offices, where over 100 individuals from over 60 organizations (faith, non-profit, law enforcement, city, county, schoolbased) were in attendance. !We met and discussed needs identified with youth violence across San Mateo County. !With representation from every region of the county, we identified four major areas of concern: 1) Lack of services and support to families, 2) Need for increased leadership development and skill building for youth, 3) Need for more cohesion and collaboration amongst service providers and, 4) Need for more youth and parent engagement and participation at Network meetings At our second network meeting, held in July at Notre Dame de Namur University, we had over 140 in attendance from cities throughout the county. More than half of the attendees were youth and parents. !At this meeting, we had a panel share their personal experience with youth violence, preventative services, and suggestions about improving current circumstances. !We also fleshed out the first three major themes a bit more, moving closer to refining them into network goals. ! We have the opportunity to make violence prevention and peacemaking a central conversation in our culture right now. And there couldn't be a more urgent time to do so. We see daily the tragic impact violence is having in our county. There are many programs and practices that are already proving to be incredibly effective at reducing such cultural challenges as gang violence, violence in our schools, in our homes, as well as conflict around the world, we can only maximize these efforts by leveraging resources, sharing best practices and communicating with each other in a strategic and thoughtful setting. Network Next Steps: Solicit network participants to join a planning committee to coordinate upcoming meetings. Explore support from local funders to partner with network participants by attending upcoming network meetings. Develop network Memorandum of Understanding to be signed and adopted by network participant organizations. Research cross county youth violence prevention models across the region, state and country, share findings with network participants Find funds to coordinate first Annual Youth Violence Prevention Symposium for Fall 2011