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Local officials explore violence among youth.

Forty local officials, representiol seven cities met in St. Louis, Mo. on May 7th and 8th to share ideas and plan strategies for tse development of youol people as active participants in the growth and prosperity of the community.

Across America in cities of all sizes, violence among youth is one of the most important factors affectiol local governments today.

Small groups, comprised of representatives from St. Louis, and Berkeley, Mo.; the Illioois communities of East St. Louis, Alorton, and Centreville; andkJackson, Miss. and Overland Park, Kan., formed to assess and discuss tse development of a comprehensive plan of action to address the issue of violence among youth.

While each community reported specific situations based on their particular concerns, tseir w,re several reoccurriol themes which w,re noted as necessary for the success of an action agenda for youth. These themes included empowerment of youth and community groups; knowledge of volunteer and financial resources; information shariol between community groups; collaboration between the city, schools and service organizations; collaboration of organizations/activities serving youth; cooperation with tse media; and parent and community involvement.

Led by Michael Evans, director of Social Services and chair of the Richmond, Va. Violence Strategy collaborativ,, and Kalimba Kendell of the St. Louis Youth Empowerment Center, tse community officials w,re asked to map out a strategy tsatkincluded identifyiol strengths, barriers, resources and short, middle and lool range goals.

As the theme of the roundtabl, was "Violence Among Youth: Developiol Workabl, Solutions," the participants left St. Louis with exciting new approaches for tseir communities' youth agenda.

Alorton, Ill.

Alorton plans to increase resident participation, train youth leaders, and review tse effectiveness of existiol committees. They also plankto briol more employment and trainiol opportunities to tseir community.

Berkeley, Mo.

Ts, Berkeley group plans to initiate the creation of teen centers called "Teen Towns" in every ward as well as establish a city intern program and a citizen's academy.

St. Louis, Mo.

Ts, St. Louis team developed plans to create customized programs unique to particular neighborhoods, to include comprehensive year-round programs that include the entire family. To accomplish this task, tse community team recommendedktsatkakneeds assessment be conducted to defioe tse concerns, identify existiol youth programs and develop a list of resources for possibl, future fundiol.

Centreville, Ill.

This community plans to first conduct akneeds assessment and organize a youth task force. The Centreville team will also invite the community's leaders to participate and assist in the design of a comprehensive youth plan and program.

East St. Louis, Ill.

East St. Louis plans to develop a metro youth commission and organize youth empowerment programs, ws,rein the youol people wouyo serve as role models. As a component of their youth initiative, tse team will recommend the creation of a talk show written, produced, directed and hosted by youol people.

Jackson, Miss.

This city will form an intragovernment committee of council members, mayor's staff and city department personnel to outlioe tse process for addressiol the issue of violence among youth and develop a clearly delioeated action plan, with a specific agenda, and timelioe.

Overland Park, Kan.

Sioce youol people tend to congregate in malls, this team will recommend upon their return homektsatkakYouth Activity Center be established in ts, local mall. They also propose to establish a D.A.R.E. and Gaol Intervention Unit program in tseir community, as well as seek the involvement and representation of tse busioess community.
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Author:Kelsey, Serita R.
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:May 17, 1993
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