Gun Violence Prevention Initiative Project Background
In June 2019, MPDC was selected as one of 10 partners in the Commonwealth for the new Massachusetts Department of Public Health-funded Gun Violence Prevention (GVP) initiative, which will work to promote and
identify effective services to reduce gun violence and other forms of violence and incorporate support from behavioral health programs with protocols designed to reduce gun violence. Each partner agency will work with
individuals at the highest risk for experiencing violence including youth of color, court-involved youth, individuals who have a substance use disorder and those who have been witness to or victims of violence.
The grants complement efforts of the Shannon Community Safety Initiative and the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative, the state’s multi-faceted strategy for reducing youth violence.
With this project, Madison Park Development Corporation (MPDC) will leverage its comprehensive, community-based public safety efforts, robust resident engagement and leadership infrastructure, and extensive experience providing youth workforce development to Boston’s at-risk youth population through the Opportunity Employment Program (OEP). Over the next two years, MPDC will significantly scale its OEP, one of four targeted youth employment programs MPDC operates as part of its Soheil Turner Youth Leadership Institute. OEP serves Boston’s opportunity youth population, with a focus on 16-24-year-olds without a high school degree, many of whom are court/gang-involved. OEP’s comprehensive trauma-informed model provides:
Education re-engagement support through in-house HiSET preparation classes and individualized academic support
Work readiness and development training, including paid community-based internships and structured support in securing unsubsidized employment;
Ongoing civic and community engagement opportunities and mentoring support.
Mental/Behavioral Health Support: As part of this grant, MPDC employs a full-time Licensed Clinical Manager who provides participants with on-site mental/behavioral health support, referrals to additional social and clinical resources, as well as comprehensive case management
Upon successful completion of a HiSET credential, MPDC works with participants to ensure a successful transition into post-secondary education and/or training pathways.
Community Engagement and Mobilization
During the course of the grant, MPDC will also support a major Community Mobilization and Engagement campaign, as part of GVP’s secondary intervention goals. We see that meaningful and lasting gun violence
prevention will require the sustained attention and collective efforts of a coalition of residents, community organizations and neighborhood institutions as well as a commitment from the city that prioritizes equity, racial
justice and collective impact. This core component of MPDC’s GVP project will include:
A coherent advocacy campaign that amplifies awareness of the community-identified issue and articulates resident-driven goals and benchmarks
Dialogue with elected representatives and city and state government officials
Participatory community forums dialogues, including events designed and implemented by youth that will include participants enrolled in MPDC’s individual-level interventions
Collaborative stakeholder engagement and joint activities involving neighborhood organizing groups and local CDCs/community-based organizations
Continued commitment to place-making approaches, including arts/culture strategies, that reaffirm the neighborhood’s identity, strengthen physical assets/infrastructure and reclaim “hotspots”