Community and clergy curb teen violence in Miami Gardens and North Miami Dade County
The rate of violent and serious crimes committed by young people is increasing at an alarming rate in the City of Miami Gardens. In the past few years, certain crimes committed by children ages 12 -15 has increased from 14 percent to 19 percent. I am frustrated because we have to do more to intervene in the lives of these young people and help them become successful members of our community.
That’s why I have joined with Trinity Peacemakers Church and the Juvenile Services Department of Miami Dade County (“Juvenile Services”) to spearhead a comprehensive and targeted Personal Responsibility Education Program to serve at risk youth in Miami Gardens and North Miami Dade County in zip codes 33054, 33056, 33162, 33167, 33168 and 33169. The Personal Responsibility Program is funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (the “Department”) grant for the fiscal years 2012-2015.
More importantly, the Personal Responsibility Program (the “Program”) is the only federally funded program of its kind focused on at risk youth in Miami Dade County.
I am excited to announce that the Program will serve young person’s at Trinity’s Peace-maker’s Family Center who are ages 12 – 18 who are referred by Juvenile Services and are not guilty of a violent felony or declared mentally incompetent. The learning objectives of the 15 week Program include, but are not limited to, teen pregnancy prevention, HIV/AIDS awareness, healthy relationships, life skills and financial literacy. The Program will coordinate with local police departments and local principals to provide the services at middle schools and high schools that have been experiencing a high incidence of gang activity.
Young people will receive a certificate of completion for completing a minimum of 12 weeks of the program. We are scheduled to complete our first 12 week program at the end of July and will announce the inaugural class at that time.
I provided a letter of support for the proposal to the Department and convened a Town Hall Meeting in October 2012 with Trinity Peacemakers, Juvenile Services, local police departments, the state attorney’s office, the public defender’s office and local clergy to discuss strategies for curbing youth violence. I hope to share some success stories and update you on the Program’s progress from time to time in the future.
“We are so excited to provide our kids who may have strayed an opportunity to learn some important life skills so they can become successful in life” remarked Rev. Linda Freeman, Executive Director of Peacemakers Family Center. “We also appreciate Andre’s work in support of the Personal Responsibility Program, bringing all of the stakeholders together and visioning this collaboration with the Juvenile Services Department”. Please join me in supporting the Personal Responsibility Program and investing in the lives of our young people. We need continued community support to ensure federal funding moving forward.
André Williams City of Miami Gardens