Guidance from Credible Messengers

Young people often learn best from each other, particularly those who have shared experiences. To that end, we operate a number of mentoring programs that employ “credible messengers,” young adults who have been in foster care, overcome substance abuse, have been incarcerated, or who are members of the same community. These Credible Messengers (mentors) have struggled with some of the same situations our youth are currently facing and are able to provide stability and offer guidance. Without seeming judgmental, they can guide youth to make better decisions and explore constructive outlets.

Arches

The Arches program uses interactive group work and one-to-one interactive journaling to help young men and women involved with the probation system to transition away from the perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors that led to their entanglement with the justice system. The goal is to help them identify the labels and internalized stigmas associated with being on probation.

Young adults ages 16-24 on probation and living in the South Bronx and Highbridge, Mt. Eden, Grand Concourse, Morris Heights, University Heights, and Mount Hope are eligible to participate. The change and transition process is facilitated by Credible Messengers and includes the development of a mutual aid support system; engagement in education and employment; goal setting; and the use of social media, theater, role play, music, spoken word, and film.

Arches has proven to reduce the rates of recidivism among young adults on probation. Learn more here and here.

Arches is a Young Men’s Initiative (YMI) funded by the New York City Department of Probation, and is part of the Mayoral initiative to reduce recidivism and violence. For more information on YMI, click here.

Supporting Our Sisters (S.O.S.)

A supplementary program for young women who participate in any of our transitional mentoring programs, Supporting Our Sisters (S.O.S.) focuses on community-building, promoting self-esteem and self-acceptance, the meaning of sisterhood, mediation and conflict resolution, how to navigate programs for young women, and how communication impacts relationships and feelings. Girls ages 16-24 meet weekly to learn, share, and support one another.

Next S.T.E.P.S.

Next S.T.E.P.S. (Striving Towards Engagement & Peaceful Solutions) is an 11-month community program that utilizes group work and a one-to-one interactive journaling curriculum to help decrease the number of violent crimes and incarcerations in and around the Polo Grounds housing complex in Harlem. Credible Messengers (mentors) meet with participants individually and in groups.

Facilitated group sessions are focused on individual change, responsible behavior, communication and relationships, and handling difficult feelings. The group process is central to the program, providing an opportunity for individuals to self-examine certain attitudes and behaviors that may be keeping them from achieving the things they want, fulfilling goals around family, work, and school.

Next S.T.E.P.S. is a Young Men’s Initiative (YMI) funded by the New York City Department of Probation, and is part of the Mayoral initiative to reduce violence.

F.E.E.L.

Designed specifically for young adults transitioning out of foster care, F.E.E.L. (Fostering, Empowerment, Excellence, and Love) is an 11-month interactive group work and journaling program that focuses on independence and self-sufficiency. Participants meet twice a week, exploring topics such as financial literacy, health, and how to build a community of support. The program is designed for young adults ages 17-22, and is facilitated by Credible Messengers who have firsthand experience with the foster care system.

F.E.E.L. is funded by the Pinkerton Foundation.

T.E.A.M.

A one-year aftercare program open to Bronx and Harlem residents ages 14-19 who are exiting Limited Secure Placement facilities, T.E.A.M. (Transform and Empower youth to Aspire through Mentoring) participants learn about new ways of communication, the connection between feelings and irresponsible behavior, self-care and self-acceptance, job readiness and financial literacy, and education and wellness, along with restorative justice practices. Credible Messengers facilitate interactive group and one-to-one journaling.

Harlem Justice Community Program

Designed for young adults on probation or court-involved who live in Harlem, the Harlem Justice Community Program (HJCP) provides young adults with an opportunity to gain work experience, further their education, and reconnect with their community. During the year-long program, participants create a professional portfolio, volunteer in community benefit projects, participate in literacy and education courses, and attend skills workshops. All of this happens while these young people earn a stipend and stay arrest free.

Young adults in the program are coached by knowledgeable and experienced staff committed to helping youth reach their goals. Our team is familiar with Harlem and its many resources and works closely with our community partners to create opportunities for participants. The program office is centrally located in Harlem at 2130 Adam Clayton Powell Junior Boulevard and features classroom space for workshops and a computer lab. The program utilizes interactive journaling and restorative justice practices.

This program is funded through a joint effort by the New York City Department of Probation and the Mayor’s Young Men’s Initiative (YMI). For more information on YMI, click here.

 

For more information about any of these programs, contact our office at 914-837-6918 or send an email to Carl Johnson at cjohnson@childrensvillage.org.

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