Monthly Archives: April 2016

Reducing Violence Through Media Training and Cultural Awareness

This podcast is part of a series highlighting innovative approaches to reducing violence and improving health
outcomes among at-risk minority youth at the nine demonstration sites of the Minority
Youth Violence Prevention Initiative
. One of these demonstrations sites is the Stand Up Participate program in Hennepin County, Minnesota, an initiative led by the community-based
organization Asian Media Access, Inc. in partnership with local public health, law enforcement agencies, and other
community-based groups that seeks to reduce youth violence by 
helping young people acquire skills for self-sufficiency, improve self-esteem,
and develop cultural pride.

Ange Hwang, executive director of Asian Media
Access,  and Tyree Lawrence, executive director of the community-based LVY Foundation,
 joined this week’s podcast to discuss the philosphy behind
Stand Up Participate’s curriculum, which includes
technology training, culturally based family engagement programming, health education, and organized activities with
police and community members that seek to improve communication and mutual understanding.

POPE-SUSSMAN: Hi. This is Raphael Pope-Sussman of the Center for Court Innovation. This podcast is part of the series
we are doing with people seeking to curb violence and improve access to public health for at-risk minority youth
as part of the Minority Youth Violence Prevention Initiative. The Initiative is a partnership of the Office of Minority
Health at the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services at
the US Department of Justice that encourages collaboration among public health organizations, law enforcement agencies,
and community-based groups.

Our podcast series highlights innovative approaches at the 9 demonstration
sites that have received funding under the program. This week, we’re looking at the Stand Up, Participate Program
in Hennepin County Minnesota. Stand Up, Participate is an initiative led by the community-based organization, Asian
in Media Access in partnership with local public health and law enforcement agencies as well as other community-based
groups like the LVY Foundation. Stand Up, Participate seeks to prevent youth violence by helping young people acquire
skills for self-sufficiency, improve self-esteem, and develop cultural pride.

I’m speaking
today with Ange Hwang, executive director of Asian Media Access, and Tyree Lawrence, executive director of the LVY
Foundation. Ange, Tyree, thank you for speaking with me today and welcome.

HWANG: Thank you.

LAWRENCE: Thank you.

POPE-SUSSMAN: For starters, can you describe Stand Up, Participate?

HWANG: Sure. This is Ange from Asian Media Access. Stand Up, Participate has been focusing to use bi-cultural
healthy living as a concept to encourage particularly Asian American community and African American community so
we will hope is by working through cultural pride and really giving you there a control sometimes. Sometimes that
will be something they’d be proud of so they will be more willing to participate and to change their behaviors.
So they would decrease the at-risk behaviors and really be able to participate back to the communities.

We are doing that through couple different venues. In Asian Media Access focusing on multimedia training
so the youth will build on self-esteem. We focusing on the cultural classes such as Asian dances so the youth can
be able to regain the culture pride. Tyree will do a little bit different than us and I will have him to talk a little
bit more.

LAWRENCE: Yes, our part of the Stand Up and Participate movement really focuses on entrepreneurship
and economic development. A lot of the young men, the African American young men in particular, are often challenged
with some of the caveats they face in society and certain stigmas, if you will. We leverage the ability for them
to tap into their own personal potential and their talents and then take it to another level by allowing them to
explore those talents in a way that ends up in a form of business or some type of trade or skill set so that they
can really find alternatives to whatever lifestyle may be prohibiting them from just living life in general and just
being, quote unquote, normal.

HWANG: Yeah. I think Tyree’s strategy is touching a very important
part is to really giving youth a choice, giving them a power to choose some of the skills they like to acquire such
as entrepreneurship and such as multimedia. After they do that, they’re really building their own team to get
away from other negative influence around them to really be able to focus and really starting to become a contributing
citizen. Then we bring in our partners, particularly at the public health and the police departments, to providing
such as mentorship such as talking about how we can improve relationship together with the police department and
also having them to even just take them to shop. We have one activity, back to school shopping with the cops. The
cops pick up 30 at-risk youth and then we got Target Foundation to support. Each youth has $100 spending money so
the cop guide them through Target to purchase all the school equipment. By doing this type of activity and empower
the youth to have a choices and power and control, they feel they can choose a better route for themself. I feel
this strategy is very effective.

POPE-SUSSMAN: How is funding from the Minority Youth Violence
Prevention Initiative enable Stand Up, Participate to work with its target population and expand services?

HWANG: The funding for us has been so helpful particularly being able to do a lot of trainings and recruiting
support groups with this youth and we can do a lot of creative and innovative outreach. I would like to particularly
emphasizing that by culture healthy living, we have been utilizing, as a central theme, for all the activities particularly,
for example, our Asian youth. We try to encourage them to exercise more, so Asian dances and martial arts. That’s
really tied them back to their culture roots. We really attract more youth to the program with this type of activity
instead of trying to utilizing mainstream activities. We design the project with that bi-cultural activity in mind.
That would help more and more of those at-risk youth of color would be willing to come into the program because it’s
coming from their culture and it’s built on their strengths. This funding source is so important. Tyree, want
to add more?

LAWRENCE: Definitely. We will also parallel. It’s a huge mechanism that’s
been able to help us as far as promoting the abilities and the talents of these individuals who may not, otherwise,
be on a platform. For instance, being able to get in front of a corporation like 3M and show the many attributes
that parallel what they’re currently teaching their employees has been phenomenal. We wouldn’t have been
able to develop this type of platform had it not been for the funding.

HWANG: Yeah. I think, particularly
I would really want to piggy back what Tyree had said. If not had the funding, we won’t be able to develop.
I think this is really the key because a lot of times we see a lot of funding, maybe supporting a police academy
and police academy to outreach to other youth and then recruit. But we do actually opposite way. We starting with
the community. We have the community build that support group. Then outreach back to the police, back to the public
health in seeking for support, seeking for training, and seeking to improve that relationship.

How have the youth been responding to the programming so far?

LAWRENCE: The youth have been actually
responding quite positively to what we’re trying to do as far as encouraging a more self-initiated healthier
lifestyle. We’re taking strife in the youth group that I deal with and are they ready to sit down across from
police officers and have these wholehearted discussions? I would say we haven’t reached that point just yet
but what they are open to are more creative and innovative ways of having their side be understood, per se, by police
officers so that there can be a more creative dialogue and hopefully we progress to something like that in the near
future. Our attempts have been, I don’t want to say difficult, but not as easy as I had anticipated when starting
this project.


HWANG: But that is exactly we need to hear, Tyree,
because we are dealing with at-risk youth who has a distrust to the police. We having this baggage in our community
for a long time and if not coming from the community, sometimes it’s very hard for this group of at-risk youth
to be able to accept this type of activities. Why bother to communicate with the police? We are doing just fine.
So that’s a lot of that type of thinking coming from our youth. That’s why we doing this from community
perspective that the community feel the police really want to reach out. They really would like to build that bridge
between both.

POPE-SUSSMAN: How are you measuring outcomes?

HWANG: We have
a very dedicated evaluator working with us from the University of Minnesota has been helping us to do two major data
collecting efforts. One is doing the youth survey, pre- and post-. We really focusing a lot on those relationship
and we got a lot of high mark. For example, the question we ask is “Do you always feel there’s a caring
adult in the program?” We’ll always have more than 95%, pre- and post-, have a very high comparison. We
do well on that area.

The other part is the teacher survey because we want to prove our methods
work particularly at the academic outcome level. We have all the youth to take survey back to their teacher, have
their teacher directly mail to us in talking about, “Did you feel this youth change in their behavior? Do they
turn in the homework now? Do they participate at the class? Do they be able to work well with the classmates in the
school?” All these are very positive feedback. We just conclude our first year’s evaluations and we come
back was 85-90% all the mark from the teacher regarding … We have about 170 survey back so regarding those 170
youth we serve, they are hitting the high mark and teacher give them a lot of improvement particularly they notice
throughout the year.

LAWRENCE: I’d also like to add the very unique part of that survey,
it was very interesting when we started out as a team. We were very intentional about our efforts to reach out to
the youth that we, quote unquote, were using at-risk so that they understand what do they feel are great outcomes
of this. It wasn’t just what society or even what we thought was a good outcome and measuring that against also
what the teachers are saying but we wanted to know for them, what would be success in your eyes? That is a very special
part of the survey that has been, in my opinion, very innovative in the ability for them to voice on the survey we’re
producing our own business. We are acquiring trade skills toward having the job opportunities. We are meeting CEOs
and executive where we normally wouldn’t have been exposed to this types of thing. Those are massively impressive
outputs to these youths in so many different facets and that’s just a small component of the survey but in their
mind, it’s the main thing.

HWANG: Definitely. This really tie back into that relationship
evaluation, the evaluation is designed really talking about how we can utilizing relationship, building this relationship
to motivate the youth to change. It’s not just to say you come to our program, you learn the skills. But the
skill is part of their life, can change their life to better so we will be able to have the skills so that youth
can earn more money for their family, for example, or to even just simple Asian dance. One of my at-risk male dancers
won the first place this year at the Hmong New Year’s and they’ve been so proud of themself and used to become
acting with the Hmong gang. Now they are out there on the stage with 20,000 people cheering for them to get this
first place at the Hmong Dance Competition. It means so much to them. They’re really also pointing out a different
direction so in the evaluation, they would say they love dance. They love the opportunity we create for them particularly
improve the point.

If we can build the relationship with these youth, we will be able to really
encourage them to choose to use different arts to relieve their anger, to express themself on the stage, to be proud
of themself, to speak up, then we can have some alternative. Then we hope those messages will be able to create a
long-term impact to create a better system for us.

POPE-SUSSMAN: Well thank you so much.

LAWRENCE: Thank you.

HWANG: Thank you so much.

has been Raphael Pope-Sussman of the Center for Court Innovation and I’ve been speaking with Ange Hwang, executive
director of Asian Media Access, Tyree Lawrence, executive of the LVY Foundation. For more information for on the
Center for Court Innovation, visit




Prosecutors Explore New Solutions to Public Safety Concerns: A Conversation about the ‘Smart Prosecution Initiative’

The Bureau of Justice Assistance at U.S. Department of Justice created the Smart Prosecution Initiative to encourage prosecutors to explore new solutions
to public safety problems. Grant recipients work with researchers to document outcomes and develop effective, economical,
and innovative responses to crime. In this podcast, Denise O’Donnell, the director of the Bureau of Justice
Assistance, sits down with Jose Egurbide of the Los
Angeles City Attorney’s Office
and Mark Kammerer of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to talk about their Smart Prosecution
programs, which use risk assessment tools to divert low-level offenders from court. The conversation took place while
the three were in Chicago to attend Community Justice 2016.

At Community Justice 2016: Above, Denise O'Donnell, director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance,
        delivers her keynote address. Below left, Jose Egurbide of the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office participates
        in a panel on Restorative Justice. Right, Mark Kammerer of the Cook County State's Attorney's Office
        discusses Risk/Needs Assessments on a panel.At Community Justice 2016: Above, Denise O’Donnell, director of the Bureau
of Justice Assistance, delivers her keynote address. Below left, Jose Egurbide of the Los Angeles City Attorney’s
Office participates in a panel on Restorative Justice. Right, Mark Kammerer of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s
Office discusses Risk/Needs Assessments on a panel.


ROB WOLF: Hi. This is
Rob Wolf, director of Communications at the Center for Court Innovation. We are at Community Justice 2016 where 400
people have gathered in Chicago for 3 days to share ideas about justice reform. With me are 3 people who are leaders
of efforts to improve justice systems both locally and nationally: Denise O’Donnell is the director of the Bureau
of Justice Assistance at the Department of Justice; Mark Kammerer is the Supervisor of Alternative Prosecution and
the Sentencing Unit at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office; and Jose Egurbide is the Supervising
Attorney in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.

Something you all have in common is a
grant program supported by the Bureau of Justice Assistance called the Smart Prosecution Initiative. Denise O’Donnell,
I thought maybe you could explain what the Smart Prosecution Initiative is and how the Bureau is using it to support
innovation and test new ideas.

DENISE O’DONNELL: Sure. I’m a former prosecutor, and when
I came to BJA I felt we really didn’t have enough focus on prosecutors and the role prosecutors can play in
justice reform. We had a great program called Smart Policing that had been operating for a number of years that actually
funded police practitioner partnerships- research partnerships to look at innovative approaches and collect data,
analyze them and assess the outcomes of the program.

We brainstormed a little about that and thought
it was a great model for prosecutors as well. So prosecutors can innovate. They can try new approaches. They can
work with a researcher, collect data and work on programs like diversion programs, like community justice centers,
and so many other initiatives.

It’s now part of a smart suite of programs at BJA. We now
have 9 programs working in this model to really promote criminal justice innovation.

WOLF: Mark
and Jose, now both of you have grants under the Smart Prosecution Initiative. They’re similar in that they’re
both helping divert offenders from more traditional sentences. Let me ask you both, why would a prosecutor’s
office be interested in diverting people from punishments that would get them more deeply involved in the justice

Mark, do you want to go first?

MARK KAMMERER: Sure. We’ve actually
been involved in diversion for decades. When I came to the office in 2000, there was a drug diversion program that
had been around since the 70’s, but one of the things we found with a lot of our alternative sentencing, basically
treatment courts, is that people had engaged in significant criminal activity before they got to treatment court.

What we wanted to do was possibly intervene with people at an earlier stage, with the hope being we could
interrupt the cycle before they got to the point where they had significant background that would warrant being in
an intensive 24 month probation program. Our office has been, especially in the last 4 or 5 years, very involved
in diverting people out of the system as early as possible. We’ve implemented a medical model that people are
diverted at the earliest point with the least amount of intervention possible, knowing that we have a whole system-
a whole continuum that we could advance to another level if needs be.

The Smart Prosecution process,
the grant that we received with that, was to … We were able to involve risk assessment in our process. One of my
experiences from working in healthcare is you really need to objectify things as much as possible so we know who
it is that we’re working with, and why we’re working with them, and what would be the best interventions.
That was one of the gaps in our system, was we did not have sufficient risk assessment involvement. That was a cornerstone
of the proposal that we made to BJA that was funded.

WOLF: I know, Jose, your initiative as well,
you’re diverting people and you’re also doing risk assessment. Let me just ask you, I thought prosecutors
classically are interested in guilt and innocence. What does a risk assessment tool, like both your programs use,
do for you?

JOSE EGURBIDE: Thanks, Rob. We’re very excited to be here. Of course we’re
very grateful for BJA’s leadership and the opportunities that that’s creating as well as the CCI risk and
needs assessment tool. What that’s doing for us is, it’s giving us an alternative to an already congested
court system where we can focus more on rehabilitation and, as Mark said, looking at it at the front end.

You often see a lot of rehabilitation happening upon reentry.  We also believe that when you talk
about alternative prosecution, when you talk about restorative justice, you need to restore the victim, you need
to restore the community, but you also need to restore the offender to a position where they’ll be a more productive
member of society going forward.

WOLF: Let’s talk a little bit specifically about what a
risk assessment tool is. You both use a similar tool that the Center for Court Innovation developed with Bureau of
Justice Assistance support. It’s evidence based, it’s been tested, but tell me how it actually functions.
What does it tell you and what does it allow you to do?

EGURBIDE: A needs and risk assessment
tool … and now there are some tools that are just risk assessment. The Center for Court Innovation tool that we
use was selected specifically because it also focuses on a needs assessment. So again, when you talk about restorative
justice, our program, the Neighborhood Justice Program, intercepts those individuals at the pre-filing stage, before
a case- a criminal case is ever filed against them.  That allows us to take a look at needs responsivity,
take a look at what are some of the dynamic risk factors that this individual exhibits and be able to fashion out
either resources or obligations that will address those needs and that risk.

I think when you’re
talking about, as Denise was mentioning, Smart Prosecution, this is an evidence based approach that will lead to
better outcomes. It will lead to a lower level of recidivism.

WOLF: So Mark, what do you do? You
get the results of the assessment and then what kinds of sentences, or I guess they’re not formal sentences
because it’s diversion, but what kind of services are you linking the offenders to?

One of the things that we were able to do with our Smart Prosecution grant program was to give specific types of
interventions to people based on the level of their risk. What had happened in the past, we had a misdemeanor diversion
program without risk assessment and everybody that was eligible for other reasons, all received the exact same intervention
with the exact same expectations.

Now with this program, we divide- the CCI tool divides people
into low, medium and high risk levels and so we have a different expectation of people, what they need to do in order
to have their case dismissed based on the level of their risk. What we do is, people at the lowest levels have an
intervention and maybe an assessment and a referral to services; at the high end, are required to be engaged in a
cognitive behavioral therapy program. We’re looking at changing criminogenic thinking for people that are higher

A side benefit for us has been the ability… is to show that people with a higher level
of risk can be just as successful in a program like this as the people with a low level of risk. We’ve actually
been able to expand our eligibility criteria in terms of charging within the time period that we’ve been with
this grant funding. People who would not have been eligible when we started this program, now are eligible because
we’ve been able to show people with a little higher risk are not really a higher risk, they just need a different

WOLF: Just for people who are listening who might not be familiar with the risk
needs responsivity theory, which is what this whole model is based on, that a response or treatment in order for
it to be effective, it needs to match the offenders risk of re-offending. Someone at a higher risk of re-offending
should have a higher intensity intervention.

KAMMERER: I’m sorry to interrupt, but that’s
exactly what we designed. People with a higher level of risk have a higher expectation. You’re exactly right.

O’DONNELL: You know, I just want to add from BJA’s perspective, risk needs assessment tools have been
around for a long time, but what CCI did was develop a tool specifically for low level and misdemeanor offenses which
tailors the kind of response to fit the offense since individuals might normally face a couple days in jail or a
week or two in jail, so do the interventions or the alternatives match that level of accountability. Referrals to
services instead of spending 2 days in jail hopefully has a much better return on our investment.

Let me ask you, Denise O’Donnell, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, as you said, this program links the prosecutors
also with a research [partners 00:10:29] and you’re encouraging prosecutors and other justice practitioners
to use evidence based tools. Obviously, there’s a theme here that using evidence based strategies is important.
Maybe you could talk a little bit about why it’s important and you think, obviously these guys here and their
offices have gotten that message, but is that message getting out as far and as wide as you’d like it to get
out to prosecutors and courts and such?

O’DONNELL: Well, it’s always a struggle to reach
everyone, but I think this conference is a good example. 400 people here participating in community justice programs.
We had a recent grant solicitation for community justice programs and had 70 different jurisdictions want to establish
those programs. We can only fund 10 of them. The demand is certainly increasing but what we see in Smart On Crime
solutions is that you have to really have pilot programs. Like we see, beyond pilot programs, but you have to have
programs that you evaluate and look at the outcomes. I think that is what convinces people that a) we can expand
the model because we have some really good results or other jurisdictions become interested in trying to replicate
what has been successfully done in Los Angeles or here in Cook County.

WOLF: Jose, you wanted
to say something?

EGURBIDE: I just wanted to say that, just to echo Denise’s comments, that
through our City Attorney, Mike Feuer, who really embraces restorative justice and transformational as opposed to
transactional approach to addressing these offenses, I think that we’re really changing the way that our traditional
criminal justice system works. We’re alleviating an already congested system, but we’re doing it in a way
where, as Mark said, we’re able to fashion out specific engagement strategies for each individual because we’re
using Smart Prosecution, because we’re using a risk and needs assessment tools that’s specifically designed
for low level offenders. I think it’s great and I think that the tool, for those listeners that may not be familiar
with it, allows you to identify either housing issues, education issues or other challenges that an individual might
have and be able to link them to those services. At the end, what you have is a person who’s being held accountable
but also comes out of the process a little bit better without the negative consequences of a conviction or something
that’s going to hinder them from going forward in a positive way.

WOLF: I think that nicely
summarizes what the Smart Prosecution Initiative is all about. I want to thank you, all 3 of you, for taking the
time out from the Community Justice 2016 to speak with me.

EGURBIDE: Thank you, Rob.

O’DONNELL: Thank you.

KAMMERER: Thanks for asking us.

WOLF: I’ve
been speaking with Denise O’Donnell who’s the Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance at the Department
of Justice, Mark Kammerer, Supervisor of Alternative Prosecution and the Sentencing Unit at the Cook County State’s
Attorney’s office here in Chicago and Jose Egurbide who is the Supervising Attorney in the Los Angeles City
Attorney’s office. I’m Rob Wolf, Director of Communications at the Center for Count Innovation. Thanks
for listening.



Sustainability Strategies for Youth Advisory Boards: A Podcast on Youth Engagement

This podcast presents highlights from Sustainable Strategies, a one-day event organized by the Center for Court
Innovation and Coro New York Leadership Center in September 2015. Representatives from 11 organizations
discussed successes, challenges, and strategies used to meaningfully engage young people and elevate their voices
in policy discussions through youth advisory boards. Members of youth justice boards also shared their experiences
and insights with the group. 


is Mary Walle from the Center for Court Innovation, and you’re listening to the New Thinking podcast. Today’s
conversation comes from Sustainable Strategies for Effective Youth Advisory Boards, a day-long convening of youth
advisory board practitioners, held by the Center for Court Innovation and Coro New York Leadership Center thanks
to the generous funding of the WB Clement and Jesse V. Stone Foundation.

What are youth advisory
boards? They are small programs run by nonprofit organizations and government agencies that bring the voices of young
people into policy work. Sustainable Strategies brought together youth advisory board practitioners from across New
York City to discuss their work to bring young people’s voices and ideas into meaningful policy change.

In this podcast, you will first hear from four experienced youth advisory board practitioners about how
their programs operate, the challenges they face, questions they grapple with, and best practices to keep in mind
when designing and facilitating a youth advisory board program. Then, four youth advisory board program alumni will
share their experiences in these programs and the impact that membership has had on their lives.

start by hearing from Brooke Richie-Babbage, the founder and executive director of the Resilience Advocacy Project.
Here, she discusses the mission, structure, and challenges of Resilience Advocacy Project’s youth advisory board

BROOKE RICHIE-BABBAGE: Our mission is to empower youth to become leaders in the fight against
poverty. We train young people in these spaces to identify social justice issues that they are passionate about in
their communities, and then to develop concrete community impact initiatives in response to those problems. They
spend a year becoming an expert on their campaign topic, and then every campaign culminates in an event. The event
is designed to bring youth and adult leaders into the same space to discuss and develop recommendations to push for

WALLE: Brooke also discussed the challenges and tensions organizations may face when the
youth participants, not adult staff, are by design in charge of the direction and the work of the program.

RICHIE-BABBAGE: This level of youth leadership makes me uncomfortable. I believe in it, right? I started
this organization. But the messiness of it, and not knowing before the citywide town hall meetings what is going
to happen at the end can make it difficult both for me personally and as an executive director to identify funding
and resources and to know where our partnerships and work are going to go, because I am not the one picking the topic.
How do you build a structure and build on successes when you’re not in charge of that aspect of guiding the

On the flip side, I think that the work is much more diverse in ways that I don’t know
that our staff who are deeply committed to youth leadership, and, quite frankly, better at it than me, would even
have paid attention to it.

It was really our youth leaders who were out there doing the recruitment
that said, “We also need to pay attention to things like age.” The dynamic of a room where everybody’s
a senior except for two people matters. That changes things in how we do work. We need to pay attention to the fact
that a lot of young people have to work after school. If, in order to be involved, you actually need to be here two
days a week, who are we then saying can’t be involved without actually saying that? That voice and that perspective
came from our young people, so the fact that they guide our recruitment and the way that the body itself is formed,
I think is very powerful.

WALLE: Brooke went on to explore the challenges her organization faces
in running a youth advisory board.

RICHIE-BABBAGE: I just want to highlight a couple of the tensions
or questions, really, that have come out of this youth leadership work and the youth council in particular, again,
against a backdrop of an organization that believes in leadership but practices it in different ways.

first is, how does this group fit into our larger organizational programmatic and policy advocacy structure? There’s
a real tension between remaining nimble and responsive to what they say they are interested in, and also running
an organization and having a program that is accountable for outcomes to funders.

Second is infrastructure.
If we want them to have a real system impact, how do we have a program that has a beginning and an end, that has
some kind of structure that is measurable and that allows the participants to feel like they are achieving something
and yet is also acknowledging of the fact that if we’re serious about them having a system impact that takes
longer than a year.

Rep’s board has identified five core social justice issues around which
we want to have an impact. What do we do if young people want to focus on something that’s not on that list,
and how do we guide their choice without making it not a meaningful choice?

Finally, who decides
and enforces the rules of the group? Group work, for those of you who do it, is hard. It’s messy. Striking the
right balance between being adult experts and facilitators in a room and also allowing the young people to grapple
with the messiness of becoming true leaders is difficult.

WALLE: Next, we’ll hear from Linda
Baird, associate director of youth justice programs at the Center for Court Innovation and former Youth Justice Board
program coordinator. The Center founded the Youth Justice Board in response to the realization that the young people
the Center worked with did not have a voice at the table where decisions were being made that would affect their
lives. Linda discusses the program’s goals and its challenges.

LINDA BAIRD: The goal of the
program is to bring the voices of young people into policymaking and have them be able to give their input on issues
that affect them. We really try to caution young people this isn’t just a program where you say, “I found
all this stuff is wrong. That’s too bad.” Then we ask them to take the next step, “And what can you
do about it as a young person? What are your ideas to fix it?” – because adults don’t often hear these.

WALLE: Building on Brooke’s earlier comments, Linda talked about how the program faced the realities
of changing policy.

BAIRD: As everybody in this room probably is aware, the timeline for policy
change … Unfortunately, I have not figured out how to make it align with the school calendar. We have thought about,
in our implementation phase, what we can do so that young people can have a few really credible, meaty projects that
come out of that period. Even with adding a full extra year on the topic of study, we at the Center realize that
that doesn’t necessarily mean the issue is wrapped up and that our work is done.

WALLE: Brooke
and Linda brought up many important questions to consider while designing and facilitating youth advisory board programs.
Up next, Laura Jankstrom, Youth Action NYC program coordinator, from the Citizens’ Committee for Children, discusses
how its youth programs are structured in response to similar questions.

Action Community Leadership course is the point of entry into the Youth Action program for interested students. At
the end of the ten-week course, the students are eligible to become Youth Action members. This is the real youth-led
piece of what we do. These guys meet every week for a couple of hours on Wednesdays for the duration of the school
year, and they pick the topics that they want to work on, and they pick the types of projects that they want to do.

For some of their projects, they want to stick to the traditional “We want to research this issue,
we want to create policy recommendations, and we want to meet with elected officials to educate them on what we found.”
They want to feel an impact immediately. They don’t want to wait for the policy change to be made a year, two
years, three years down the line. It’s a lot of times difficult to follow an issue if it’s not something
that the news is really covering a lot, and so kids aren’t seeing movement on them. I can’t just send them
an article and say, “Hey, see what’s happening with the issue that we’re working on.” A lot of
that is really done behind the scenes.

An example I have, one semester, we were doing teen mental
health, and one of the recommendations that our group brought was that there should be a teen suicide awareness day
in New York City. The following year, councilmember Steve Levin introduced a bill that would make September Teen
Suicide Awareness Month for the entire state and credited the Youth Action meeting that he took with pushing him
to introduce that bill. By that time, a lot of those kids were moving on to greener pastures, but I did my best to
reach out to them and say, “Hey, congratuations, you made a difference.”

The final arm
of our three-pronged Youth Action program is peer trainers. Kids go through the training course. If they want to,
they become Youth Action members. Then, from that group, I pick about four students every year to become peer trainers.
They develop and facilitate workshops for other programs that are interested in civic engagement, advocacy, leadership,
New York City government.

WALLE: The final adult practitioner we’ll hear from is Chris Neal,
senior director of youth programs and initiatives from Coro New York Leadership Center. He discusses the pillars
and breadth of Coro’s youth programming and the importance of youth-adult partnerships.

NEAL: One of the major pillars of our work is this notion of youth-adult partnership, which you’ve heard talked
about today a little bit, and that’s the idea or the work of young people working in partnership and collaboration
with adults on common issues.

I believe in youth voice, I love youth voice, but I’m also
very clear about the role that we have as adults in the room, and that is to create the hooks for young people to
hang their ideas on. They have a number of ideas, lots of wonderful things they’d like to do, and our role,
sitting in the back, but leading from behind, as Obama would say, is to provide those hooks. “Well, maybe you
might think about doing this,” or “Have you ever thought about doing that?”

other pillar of our program is probably youth in policy in practice. What does that mean? Youth in policy in practice
means that over the course of our work, which is the last ten years, in working with youth councils both in schools
and across the city, we found that the area where young people have the greatest impact is on how policies are shaped,
the decision making process, and then how they are implemented. We rely and we spend a great deal of our time building
the capacity of our young people to go out, collect data, collect the authentic voice and experiences of their peers,
and bring those back in a meaningful way so they can contribute to the decision making process or the implementation
process of policy. That is a fundamental of our work.

Three years ago, Coro had one youth program
and about 24 young people. Now we have three youth programs and two initiatives and about 200 young people. One of
the biggest tensions, which you spoke to a little bit, Brooke, is organizationally realizing that rather we want
to think about it this way or not, we are a de facto youth development organization. Now we need to begin to think
about what that means organizationally.

WALLE: A common theme identified by the practitioners
was the challenge of convincing the youth advisory board host organization of the value of youth voice, and figuring
out how to integrate young people’s ideas. Here’s how Chris described that challenge.

Something I think we may have all run into is this notion of managing up. The folks that are above you may not always
understand the importance of youth programs and having youth councils in your agency. You might have to do a little
bit of managing up, I call it. “This is the benefit of this program. This is why we need to have this. This
is how it’s going to improve our work. This is how it’s going to make us have a greater impact.” Adultism
is real, and a lot of adults do not think that young people have a place in policy, practice, and implementation.
What are young people going to do? What are they going to do for this organization? How can we utilize them?

WALLE: Now we will hear from young people on their experience as youth advisory board members. BERNADETTE,
Stephanie, Alex, and Levi are alumni of youth advisory board programs at the Center for Court Innovation and Coro
New York Leadership Center. They first discuss how the program affected their growth as young leaders and then offer
their advice on how to lead and recruit for youth advisory board programs. Last, they share how the experience impacted
their lives.

ALEX: I’m Alex.  The Youth Justice Board exposed me to a whole other
world I never really about. [inaudible 00:11:37] Coro allowed me have unique access to the mayor’s office and
city government, which I think every youth should have some sort of access to. I think that’s really eye opening
and really an enlightening experience.

BERNADETTE: My name is Bernadette. YJB really influenced
me in understanding a lot about policy and how it was developed and how it affects young people. It definitely affected
me. I thought that it just affected adults, adults would just tell me what to do and I would listen. YJB really opened
a door to see how everything comes down from the top and it trickles down to the bottom.

I always
thought a leader was the one who was at the forefront of everything. I’m a shy person. Being in Coro, exploring
leadership there, I really find myself as a leader because of the fact that I can collaborate and communicate with
different people.

STEPHANIE: My name is Stephanie. One main point for me would be having to write
recommendations and actually being accomplished at the end of the year. Another highlight was the presentation at
Pace University. I felt like such an adult. It really exposed me to a world of people that I don’t think I would
have been talking to with the confidence I have now.

WALLE: One of the topics the youth discussed
was the qualities adult partners and program leaders should possess.

BERNADETTE: The relationship
should not be, “I’m the program facilitator and you’re the program participant.” It’s more
like, “Okay, so we’re working together on this same issue,” and so understanding that that type of
dynamic works best with young people, because a lot of people look at adults as authority figures, not as people
who I can be equal with.

ALEX: My facilitators would oftentimes step back, and they would say,
“Our job is to be a facilitator. It’s not to be someone who is governing over the situation that is happening
at the moment.” Oftentimes they left the room to let us sort of engage each other and not just speak to the
adult in the room, which I think does naturally happen because we’re used to a classroom environment where we
just respond to a teacher.

The facilitator is there to facilitate, but also to step back, but
also to help us have access to them and to the multiple resources that they can provide us as adults.

Not only do we just focus on the program, but we always have check ins with our facilitators.

I think what worked best is that the program itself is not based in a classroom style. Both YJB and Coro’s Leadership,
it’s a circle, so everybody can see each other, everybody get to talk to one another, and it’s discussion-based.
It’s not a lecture.

WALLE: Youth Advisory Program alumni continued sharing advice about these
programs, including how to recruit for them, during the question and answer segment.

LEVI: I think
that if you relate it back to current events and link the program to how it’s affecting society today, I think
they can definitely make people more interested.

BERNADETTE: They could also talk about skills
that they will do well in.

ALEX: I think maybe going in into schools and recruiting people through
the discussion of issues that are relating back to them would allow them to engage.

I would just say get the message out to them that what they’re doing is going to be beneficial not only for
them, but for future generations.

JANKSTROM: What is one thing that really surprised you about
your experience in these programs? Is there something you think differently now than you thought when you started?

LEVI: Before I joined Youth Justice Board, I never knew much about policy or criminal justice or police-community
relationships. It gave me the opportunity to learn about it, and not only to learn about it, to be an active member
and do it. To be involved and try to change it.

ALEX: I joined the YJB in 9th grade, and that
was very early for me, but it allowed me to enter high school in a completely different perspective, in the sense
that I was able to … Instead of just having this feeling that I needed to keep my head down and do my work and
do all these different things, I felt like I could understand the people that were in society that I walked by every
day and took the subway with, and I felt like I had a closer connection to a community that wasn’t my school.
I think that’s really important, because yeah, we could all be class president or anything, but it’s important
to engage in the community, especially in a community as large as New York City.

In retrospect, how do you feel this work has impacted your life beyond the work in your council? How has it helped
you in school or with your peers? Can you speak to anything, one thing that really resonated with you that you’ve
been able to take away and apply it in other areas of your life?

BERNADETTE: For me, two things.
One, I am a founder of a new club called DP, which is basically Diversity Project. The main focus of DP is to include
people who you really don’t hear about or backgrounds you don’t really hear about. For me, the second thing
would be dynamics and how I was perceived the world and how other people would perceive the world, and things that
I would do or my tendencies. I think what it allowed me in school is how to navigate with different people, because
you have the loud people and you have the shy people, and so how do I connect with them to make sure that the work
is done.

ALEX: Well, the Youth Justice Board taught me, it helps practical fields like time management,
note-taking skills, and it also teaches you responsibility, which is important. I think I became more responsible
throughout the program.

STEPHANIE: It also helps you connect to the real world. For example, we
did a lot of interviews last year with stakeholders and a lot of these important people, but when we actually asked
teams to go out to the real world and to apply for a job and get the interview, it helps us in that sort of way because
now we are better at our speaking skills and communication skills.

WALLE: This has been Mary Walle
with the Center for Court Innovation. You’ve been listening to advice and best practices from youth advisory
board practitioners and youth participants from Sustainable Strategies for Effective Youth Advisory Boards.

For more information on the Youth Justice Board and the Center for Court Innovation, you can visit

For more information about the Coro New York Leadership Center, you can visit

Thank you to the W. Clement and Jesse. B. Stone Foundation for their generous funding that made this event
and podcast possible. To hear more New Thinking podcasts, you can visit



A Trauma-informed Approach to Reducing Youth Violence

This podcast is part of a series highlighting innovative approaches to reducing violence and improving health
outcomes among at-risk minority youth at the nine demonstration sites of the Minority
Youth Violence Prevention Initiative
. One of these demonstrations sites is the Children in Trauma Intervention, or CITI, program in Cincinnati, an anti-violence initiative
led by the Cincinnati Police Department’s Youth Services Unit in partnership with the Cincinnati Health Department,
Cincinnati Public Schools, and Hamilton County Juvenile Court that seeks to reduce violence and youth involvement
in the juvenile justice system through a mentorship program that pairs police officers with youth. 

Nancy Wagner, who oversees grants and grant information for the Cincinnati Police
Department and Lieutenant Jay Johnstone, of the department’s Youth Services Unit, joined this week’s podcast
to discuss CITI’s unique curriculum, parent-engagement strategy, and trauma-informed approach.

following is a transcript

Hi, this is Raphael Pope-Sussman of the Center for Court Innovation. This podcast is part of a series we are doing
with people seeking to curb violence and improve access to public health for at risk minority youth, as part of the
Minority Youth Violence Prevention Initiative. The initiative is a partnership of the Office of Minority Health at
the US Department of Health and Human Services, and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services at the US
Department of Justice that encourages collaboration among public health organizations, law enforcement agencies and
community based groups. Our podcast series highlights innovative approaches at the nine demonstration sites that
have received funding under the program. In this week’s podcast, we’re exploring the Children in Trauma
Intervention program, or CITI in Cincinnati, OH. CITI is spearheaded by the Cincinnati police department’s Youth
Services Unit in partnership with the Cincinnati Health Department, Cincinnati public schools and Hamilton County
Juvenile Court. The program seeks to reduce violence
and youth involvement in the juvenile justice system through a mentorship system that pairs police officers with
youth. This podcast focuses on CITI’S approach to trauma and the philosophy behind CITI’s unique parent
engagement strategy, which includes requiring parents of youth to participate along with their children in the program.
    I’m joined by Nancy Wagner, who oversees grants
and grant information for the Cincinnati Police Department, and Lieutenant Jay Johnstone of the department’s
Youth Services Unit. Nancy, Lieutenant Johnstone, thank you for being here today, and welcome.

NANCY WAGNER:           
Thank you.

JAY JOHNSTONE :            
Thank you for having us.

So, can you describe to me how CITI functions?

Well, we run three separate sessions a year and we invite 40 kids between the age of 11 and 14 to attend each of
the sessions. And what we’re looking for are kids who are kind of on the borderline of having discipline problems
or attendance problems or struggling with their grades at school. So those are the youth that we reach out to and
that’s who we’re looking for.

It starts off with an interview process where we interview the youth. We also interview the parents of the youth
because the parents are … a large component of our program, is the Parent to Parent Program. So the parents and
the youth are equally involved through the program which runs 10 weeks. The parents meet weekly for 90 minutes and
their presence is actually required as part of the program for the kids, in order to graduate. The parents also inevitably
graduate. So the parents are required to attend and the parents then meet with a certified therapist at the meeting.

So, what we do is they start off talking as a group together and they address issues that everybody is experiencing
with their youth and then they break off into smaller groups and talk in a little more intimate setting. And then
towards the end of the session, they come back together and discuss the various ideas that they’ve learned,
the different characteristics that they actually share with the other [inaudible 03:18] parents.

This approach is I think unique among the Minority Youth Violence Prevention Programs. Why do you feel that it’s
so important to have parents involved?

think the parents help to reinforce these lessons that we’re trying to teach. The lessons of leadership and
the lessons of conflict resolution. Also, just the idea of respect. So, these are the lessons that we’re teaching
the kids and we found a strong correlation that the better attendance and stronger buy in that we have from the parents
then the better buy in and the better attendance that we have from the youth that participated in the program. So
that way when the youth go home, their parents are able to reinforce the lessons that are being taught.

Where does law enforcement fit into the program specifically?

What we’re trying to do is bridge that gap between the youth and law enforcement and improve those relationships
and we feel that by having the direct contact that we have with the youth in our program, we are able to help lower
those barriers and break some of the stereotypes that some of the youth might have toward the police officers. So
the police officers, is they help run the Parent to Parent. They run the daily operation of the camp itself. The
officers, they organize the lesson plan. They teach physical training and also military drills. So it’s designed
by officers and run by officers.

Can you tell me a little bit more about the curriculum that the youth follow? I know that it’s pretty structured.
I think they wear uniforms.

JOHNSTONE :     Yes, the youth
wear uniforms and we try to have a pretty structured setting. Probably particularly come on a little bit stronger
at the beginning and then kind of lighten up and that’s when you find that the bond really starts forming with
the officers and the youth. And then we do teach an enrichment portion throughout the entire 10 weeks and we use
the GREAT curriculum, which is a Gang Resistance Education Training curriculum. And then we also introduce that same
curriculum to the Parent to Parent.

We also have like the physical PT training. We have military drills. We have an officer that teaches…

JOHNSTONE :     Martial arts.

Martial arts. And then our sex education program – we have someone from the Health Department come over to teach
a class on that.

And what is the response from the youth?

JOHNSTONE :     Tremendous.
And that’s probably the most rewarding portion of the program is watching the transition from the beginning
all the way to the end and we end it with a graduation ceremony. And just watching the pride that the kids experience
and then watching the pride of the parents for completing the program. Even during the graduation ceremony we have
the youth actually give the parent awards out themselves. And it’s just a really gratifying moment. So, the
youth are very thankful of it. They show that through officers that follow up. As WAGNER talked about before, there’s
follow up and there’s mentorship. We make sure that there’s consistent follow up so that we’re always
monitoring their progress even after the camp. So, we don’t want it just to be a temporary, 10 week fix. We’re
looking more towards permanent where we’re going to follow them all the way up to the point of college and beyond.

And also a lot of the officers are school resource officers. So, they’ll see these kids at the school so they
can keep in contact with them to see how things are going. And a lot of the kids form that bond and if things are
happening with them, at home or whatever, they’ll go to that officer for advice. And then we’ll also have
parents calling afterward just saying what a change in the kids. Or if they’re having a problem with the kid,
they’ll call afterwards and then an officer will go out to talk to the kid and see how he or she can help.

You mentioned earlier that you have a trauma specialist to work with the youth. What is trauma informed care mean
to you at CITI?

JOHNSTONE :     I think we’re trying
to look at from the vantage point of the youth themselves and the various traumas they might be experiencing through
a variety of stressors in their lives. So that’s where the trauma specialist comes in because she’s able
to speak with not only the children but the parents … most of us understand there’s going to be two vantage
points when you’re talking with two different parts of a relationship. So, the trauma specialist is able to
help bridge that relationship and bring the parents and the youth closer together.

One of the highlights of the program is when we have a one on one session and that’s when midway through the
program we have the child and the parent sit down together. It’s actually quite moving because at this point
a lot of feelings and concerns start to come to the surface and we’re able to work with the families and help
work through some of these issues that have been causing problems in the past.

And also at the beginning each student is given an Adverse Childhood Experience, or ACE Questionnaire, and that assesses
the risk of increase health issues associated with maltreatment or other adverse childhood experiences. So then the
trauma expert will go over all this and then work with the student or the parent to see if she can help resolve some
of their issues.

Stepping back a bit, can you describe what support from the Minority Youth Violence Prevention Initiative has enabled
you to do?

Actually it’s been able to keep the program going because there’s a lot of money involved. A lot of it
goes for overtime for the officers because the city is down in their [inaudible 09:14] in officers so they wouldn’t
be able to put the program on during the work period and due to contractual issues, we can’t have officers volunteering
their time. And then, the food to feed the kids involved, the trauma specialists. We also have University of Cincinnati
is our evaluator, so we need to pay them. We also have incentives which is big for the kids that’s provided
by the grant. So, it gives them a goal to reach not only to be a better person, but a lot of people know that if
you kind of put that carrot out there, they’re going to try a whole lot harder.

And what are those incentives?

JOHNSTONE :     Well, we have
weekly incentives where we recognize like the top students, the top leaders, ones who do well on the weekly spelling
test, ones that do well on the physical fitness test. We kind of toggle it back and forth between like 5 dollar Subway
card or 5 dollar BW3 Wings card. We also offer for attendance for the parents we offer 2 increments, anywhere between
10 and up to 25 dollars depending on how long they maintain their presence throughout the program, as well. And then
ultimately if the kid shows perfect attendance and shows good progress they eventually can earn a tablet.

The kids must get very excited for that.

JOHNSTONE :     Absolutely.


JOHNSTONE :     (laughs) That’s something that
you’ll see where they strive and work very hard because they realize that it’s very attainable.

Well, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today.

Thank you.

JOHNSTONE :     All right.  Thank you,

This has been Raphael Pope-Sussman with the Center for Court Innovation speaking with Nancy Wagner and Lieutenant
Jay Johnstone. For more information on the Center for Court Innovation visit