The STRONG UNIVERSITY program is our gang, gun and youth violence intervention program for youth between the ages of 14-21 years old that are disconnected from the school system, have been in contact with the criminal justice system and are either gang affiliated or gang involved. The University program seeks to decrease recidivism by promoting positive identity formation, development of higher stages of moral reasoning and providing youth with the education, skills, and support they need to complete legal requirements.
(1) Educate at-risk and gang-involved youth on the dangers of gang and youth violence,
(2) Address the cognitive, emotional and social needs that encourage gang involvement,
(3) Aid families in taking supportive roles in the lives of their children,
(4) Encourage and teach youth to be active agents of positive change in their community,
(5) Promote a comprehensive treatment approach by providing necessary referrals.
Our program includes: mental health services (including specialized services to address chronic trauma), case management services, weekly psychoeducational and Moral Recognition Therapy (MRT) group sessions, and “life changing” experiences, or activities that can trigger a commitment to change. This includes community service projects, trips, and college tours, among others allowing us to extend engagement beyond court mandates. Finally, we provide enhanced mental health services through yoga and fitness group sessions to assist our youth in learning emotional regulation, impulse control, and anger management skills.