Policing

Central Falls announces new Nonviolence Outreach Specialist; initiatives to engage youth

“As a parent to a newborn 10 days ago, as a coach, as a mentor, as a leader to this community, I know that we have to prioritize our kids, and making sure we figure out the safest way possible to keep them away from the streets,” said Manny Silva, the new Central Falls Nonviolence Outreach Specialist. “We have to build our relationships and trust with this community.”
Photo for Central Falls announces new Nonviolence Outreach Specialist; initiatives to engage youth

Published on May 27, 2021
By Uprise RI

Central Falls Mayor Maria Rivera and Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien announced new nonviolence programs and youth opportunities outside Central Falls High School on Thursday in an effort to enhance youth safety and engagement.

“I’m motivated to make sure we are doing all we possibly can for our youth so they feel safe, supported, and productive,” said Mayor Rivera. “We need to identify and divert conflicts before they become devastating acts of violence, and direct our youth to positive pathways and opportunities. Our city is hiring a new full-time Nonviolence Outreach Specialist through the Nonviolence Institute who will work directly in our city, and launching a partnership with Pawtucket to provide nonviolence training and mentorship to at-risk youth. Nothing is more important than keeping our youth, families, and streets safe.”

The new Central Falls Nonviolence Outreach Specialist will be Manny Silva, whose has an intimate knowledge of street conflicts, and works closely on intervention strategies that can save lives. Silva will focus on Central Falls youth, identifying potential risks and paths to nonviolence. From spending time in locations where youth congregate and building important relationships with at-risk youth, to referring violence-impacted youth and their families to resources in the community (like employment, school, housing, food, and other positive activities), the goal is to help youth who may be walking on unstable ground be redirected toward nonviolence, stability, and a positive path in life.

“As a parent to a newborn 10 days ago, as a coach, as a mentor, as a leader to this community, I know that we have to prioritize our kids, and making sure we figure out the safest way possible to keep them away from the streets,” said Silva. “We have to build our relationships and trust with this community.”

This new nonviolence position is not the only new nonviolence program aimed to help local youth. Pawtucket and Central Falls are partnering with the Nonviolence Institute to launch a seven-week nonviolence summer program for high-risk youth, approximately 30 hours a week, where students will receive nonviolence training, resume building workshops, career building opportunities and paid internships with the cities. Each participant will spend approximately 30 hours a week in the focused program.

Directly after the announcement there was a student job fair held outside the high school.

“We are pleased to be continuing our summer youth program with The Nonviolence Institute and will be working now with Central Falls to expand that program in a new partnership,” said Mayor Grebien. “I thank Cedric and everyone at the Institute for working with us again to help the students of Pawtucket and Central Falls and give them beneficial opportunities to thrive.”

“The Nonviolence Institute is pleased to partner with Central Falls and Pawtucket – our Three Cities Project has been building momentum through a collaborative process to engage organizations and services while building relationships that support youth in both communities,” said Cedric Huntley, Executive Director of the Nonviolence Institute. “We would especially like to thank Mayor Rivera for her commitment in funding an additional Outreach Specialist as we address issues of diversion, violence prevention, and Intervention, and both Mayors Rivera and Grebien for their important leadership and partnership as we continue our mission in addressing violence through nonviolence solutions and training.”

Lisa Pena-Warren and Cedric Huntley of the Nonviolence Institute

The Three-Cities Nonviolence Program, supported by a $318,199 grant awarded by the United States Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile and Delinquency Prevention, targets youth victims and families of gang-related violence in Central Falls, Pawtucket, and Providence by providing direct support services to prevent re-victimization. The program identifies victims of gang violence and gang-related crime, and uses data driven, evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies to provide an appropriate response, to include Nonviolence Streetworker Outreach, Social Worker-Police Go-Teams, and Hospital-based violence intervention.

The Nonviolence Institute earlier in the day announced it was the recipient of a $500,000 contribution from Brown University, the Rhode Island Foundation and the Partnership for Rhode Island. The contribution will be used to further the efforts of the Nonviolence Institute.

“Our Central Falls Police Department is dedicated to the safety of our residents, families, and broader community,” said Central Falls Police Colonel Anthony Roberson. “Ramping up our community engagement and community policing, and working in partnership with a number of organizations like the Nonviolence Institute, the Prevention Coalition, schools, and athletic organizations like Project GOAL, will help our department build positive, trusted relationships with our youth. We need to do all we can to prevent violence in our city. Keeping our streets and our kids safe this summer is a top priority.”

“Establishing partnership programs with local community based organizations is a step in the right direction towards building a safer and more supportive community for the next generation of Pawtucket residents,” said Pawtucket Community Advisory Board Chair Chachi Carvalho. “We have an amazing opportunity to provide this resource because of the partnership with the Nonviolence Institute. We must continue to build with the community, amplify their voices, and be both brave and creative in establishing more opportunities for our local youth.”

“Now more than ever it’s important to create initiatives that build stronger communities and protects our youth,” said Central Falls City Council President Jessica Vega.

The City of Central Falls is launching www.centralfallsri.gov/safeyouth to begin maintaining a list of youth opportunities for a safe summer.

Central Falls Mayor Maria Rivera

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