S.T.R.O.N.G. has a long history of partnering with law enforcement agencies, school districts, clergy, and elected officials focus on developing systems that aid in reducing incarceration of our youth and violence in our communities. At the core of these relationships is recognition that the goal of reducing gang and youth violence will only be achieved through collaborations between diverse partners. Too many program models and approaches pin community-based efforts as incompatible or contradictory to the work of other institutions but S.T.R.O.N.G.’s approach utilizes the strengths of all partners to leverage resources and achieve the best results possible.
S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth serves as chair of UVIP. This partnership is comprised of law enforcement, school district administrators, local Chamber of Commerce, the Uniondale Public Library, clergy, parents, and other community organizations. The objective of this group is to bring together the major stakeholders in the community to develop strategies and initiatives to prevent and intervene in incidents of violence. UVIP has been active since 2002, and continues to be one of the most effective collaborative efforts in our area.
S.T.R.O.N.G.’s accomplishments through the UVIP collaborative include obtaining grants to do violence prevention work in the schools, community wide violence education events and successfully coordinating a crisis committee to respond to incidents of violence. The Crisis Committee is a multi-disciplinary team comprised of a school official, clergy, and a community worker responsible for responding to incidents of violence by reaching out to the family of the victim and/or perpetrator and working with the community, schools and law enforcement to help deescalate the situation and prevent retaliation. In addition, S.T.R.O.N.G. staff go into the community to help to diffuse tensions by speaking to community residents directly and engaging youth of all cultures and ethnicities, many of them gang involved youth who have already entered the criminal justice system.
The UVIP also includes committees on Family and Community Engagement, Youth Opportunities (focusing on career exploration and preparation), and Truancy, Attendance and School Suspension Alternatives.