Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) and Anti-Gang Initiave (AGI) funds were merged in 2006 into one program. These funds have been distributed by formula to U.S. Attorneys’ offices throughout the country. Funds for the PSN/AGI program have continued to be pared away in the federal budget. In upcoming years, each U.S. Attorney’s office will be required to compete for funds on a nationwide basis to fund evidence-based and data-based practices.
Since 2008, the Northern District of California (NDCA) targeted all funds to programs assisting at risk youth. Examples of such programs include the Police Athletic League in San Francisco and Watsonville, the successful and nationally recognized Alameda County District Attorney’s Truancy Program, the Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco, DEFY Camp for youngsters in Contra Costa County Housing Authority programs, and the Youth Intervention Network in Antioch.
Northern District of California PSN/AGI Grantee wins Project Safe Neighborhoods National Achievement Award for Outstanding Community Involvement
The Youth Intervention Network (YIN) is a model program and was recognized by the Department of Justice when it received the Project Safe Neighborhoods National Achievement Award for Outstanding Community Involvement. Antioch Police Chief Jim Hyde and Antioch resident Iris Archuleta, a former Police Commissioner and dedicated community organizer, created a unique opportunity for citizens to get involved in changing their community. Chief Hyde and Ms. Archuleta developed an innovative new program that revolves around intensive training for community volunteers so that they can have meaningful engagement with at risk youth to help guide and mentor them and their families. YIN has developed a curriculum with Dialogue for Peaceful Change (Belfast, Ireland) and trainers from Ireland regularly fly to Antioch, California to provide training in conflict resolution. This effort has had much success in bringing Catholics and Protestants to a place of better understanding in Ireland and is being used in Antioch to train citizen volunteers to be mediators for families and communities in conflict.
Volunteers are put through a strenuous full week of 40 hours of training in mediation and conflict resolution. The volunteer mediators spend several months working with selected families to assist not only the young person in trouble, but helping the entire family in accessing wrap around services to help resolve chaos in the home. YIN treats the whole family. Other volunteers go on for many more hours of training to be designated Family/Education Advocates. These individuals work at the schools and assist the young person in navigating a successful outcome once he or she has made a commitment to change. The volunteer advocates work directly at the school alongside the teachers and probation officers – acting almost as a “force multiplier” for the teachers, counselors and Contra Costa County in troubleshooting for the young person to access the right kind of help and assistance – somewhat of a surrogate parent, mentor, life coach.
The police and the community are working side by side to address the challenging increases in gang related violence in Antioch. The commitment of the volunteers is truly remarkable, not only in the number of hours dedicated to training, but also the number of hours dedicated to these young people and their families. Without YIN, these same young people would likely be joining gangs or be the victim of or perpetrating violent crime. Instead, they are thriving and back on course at school, at home and in the community.
To reach the NDCA's PSN Coordinator, please contact:
Assistant U.S. Attorney
Northern District of California
450 Golden Gate Avenue, 11th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102