Addressing Gang & Youth Violence Issues

In Communities Throughout Massachusetts

Five Core Strategies

The Shannon Community Safety Initiative (CSI) provides funding to communities throughout Massachusetts to address their gang and youth violence problems. In these communities, public institutions such as police and school departments and community organizations undertake multi-pronged efforts directed at five strategy areas.

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Community Mobilization

Involvement of local citizens, including former gang members and community groups and agencies, and the coordination of programs and staff functions within and across agencies.

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Opportunities Provision

The development of a variety of education, training, employment, and reentry programs specific to engaging gang-involved youth and young adults.

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Social Intervention

Youth-serving agencies, schools, street outreach workers, grassroots groups, faith-based organizations, law enforcement agencies, and other criminal justice organizations reaching out and acting as links between gang-involved youth and their families, the conventional world, and needed services.

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Suppression

Formal and informal social controls procedures and accountability measures, including law enforcement and close supervision or monitoring of gang-involved youth, by criminal justice agencies working in collaboration with community based service providers, schools, and grassroots groups.

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Organizational Change and Development

Development and implementation of policies and procedures that result in the most effective use of available and potential resources to better address the gang problem.

Success Stories

“We have had numerous people say that the Teen Achievers Program at the Lawrence YMCA has been an amazing outlet for their children. The social isolation these kids have experienced during COVID is real. We had one girl, who is really introverted, come to the program. Initially, she did not participate or engage, but over time, we really saw her blossom. She began interacting positively with others and started volunteering with us. Now, she is a part time employee at the YMCA and is a huge asset.”

Merrimack Valley YMCA, Lawrence

“In spite of the challenges presented by Covid that directly impact everyone, there have been numerous success stories from our participants. One of our participants that has been with the program for several years was accepted to The Juilliard School in New York City for his musical aptitude. This musical aptitude was directly influenced, supported, and nurtured by the AMPP Program.”

Worcester Police Department

One of our participants who was never gang involved a few years ago was stabbed while walking home. During his recovery gang affiliates were able to convince him to associate with them and then he became heavily involved with gang activity. Since then, he has participated in the New Bedford Shannon program personal development groups, as well as intensive Case management, career dynamics and subsidized employment program, he graduated from high school, has not participated in gang activity for a year and a half and is working a full-time job.

New Bedford Shannon

“This year, when bills were piling up and I needed to eat, TE put money in my pocket. Teen Empowerment fed me literally and emotionally, while also furthering my career.”

Teen Empowerment, Metro-Mayors

“This program made a huge impact on my life. I was able to evolve not only as a student but as a person. The opportunities that were given to me were some that not a lot of people get and I was very fortunate to be a part of this program. I was helped financially when it came to paying for books and I was guided in the right direction when it came to school decisions. I would definitely recommend this program to other students.”

Mount Wachusett Community College, Fitchburg Gardner

“One of our program participants lost his home to a fire, leaving he and his family homeless. BAM staff were able to quickly mobilize resources that included cash assistance and basic needs as well as linked the family to external services that supported in finding a new place to live. Additionally, BAM was there with the scholar throughout the entire ordeal providing mental health supports to help the young man deal with the trauma of losing "everything."

Youth Guidance, Boston

Shannon 2022 Statewide Brief-pdf (1)

Our Partners

Since 2006, the Massachusetts Legislature has appropriated funds to support the Shannon Community Safety Initiative in an effort to reduce gang violence across the Commonwealth. Shannon is modeled after the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Preventions (OJJDP) Comprehensive Gang Model (CGM), a multi-sectored approach to address a community’s gang violence problem. After demonstrating a high level of gang violence through a competitive grant process, funded sites complete a needs assessment and assemble a steering committee which uses data to develop strategies. Currently, the grant program funds 15 geographic sites/25 communities across the state with Shannon dollars supporting 138 partner organizations and 130 full-time equivalent positions.

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