Outreach and Conflict Mediation
Nonviolence Chicago works intentionally in the “hot spots” in the community as the setting for outreach services. Hot spots are identified by GIS mapping of shootings and where large numbers of young street-involved people congregate. The Outreach Workers work with the highest-risk (“in-risk”), street involved young people to reduce acts of community violence. They do this by developing and maintaining a trust based relationship with the client based on credibility. Clients are selected based on criteria including:
1) age 16-31;
2) not in school;
3) not employed;
4) criminal justice system involvement; and/or
5) street involvement.
Outreach work is conducted through intensive and relentless one-on-one engagement in the community along with structured opportunities for social interaction and facilitated group discussions that cover violence prevention/intervention and ways to address both. Outreach Workers prevent and mediate conflicts before escalation to shootings through ongoing mentoring and mediating conflicts. When a shooting does occur, Outreach Workers respond to the crisis, conduct a threat assessment for the possibility of retaliatory shootings, and implement a strategy to de-escalate tensions and prevent violence. Outreach workers are supervised by a Program Manager who oversees their street outreach work, manages data collection and data entry, and ensures safety for staff and the agency.
Mediations and changing how individuals and groups resolve their conflicts is the number one way violence is reduced in the short-term by outreach workers. Longer term relationships that lead to engagement in services and the achievement of goals (education, employment, etc.) will reduce violence over the long-term as people begin to change their lives and the lives of those around them.
For More information, please contact Chris Patterson, Nonviolence Outreach Program Manager
@ (773) 417-7421.