You Are Here: Home » Opinions » Community and clergy start groundbreaking initiative to curb teen violence in Miami Gardens and North Miami Dade County

Community and clergy start groundbreaking initiative to curb teen violence in Miami Gardens and North Miami Dade County

Andre Williams

Community and clergy start groundbreaking initiative to curb teen violence in Miami Gardens and North Miami Dade County

By André Williams, City of Miami Gardens

     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.

     Beginning in February 2013, I am excited to announce that the Program will serve young persons at Trinity’s Peacemaker’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.

     The Program expects to serve 1400 kids this calendar year.

     Young people will receive a certificate of completion for completing a minimum of 12 weeks of the program.

     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”.

     It is not enough to talk about solving the ills of our community. It is not enough to talk about rehabilitating our young people and complaining about their lack of success and opportunity.

     We have to take responsibility for our children and help them through difficult times in their lives. I will be actively involved in supporting the Program and our children through involvement with some of the programming provided to the children and engaging and soliciting the participation and support of other community stakeholders in the Program.

     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.




Be Sociable, Share!

    Leave a Comment

    Site Designed By

    Scroll to top