CITY OF SALT
LAKE CITY, UT
YOUTH EMPOWERMENT SERVICES - "YES !"
1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.
The Salt Lake City Police Department D.A.R.E. Officers are now providing after school YES! (Youth Empowerment Services) clubs that help middle school students understand what crime is, how to avoid being a victim and how to be a proactive community problem solver. Through a curriculum the students learn how to do conflict resolution, recognize unsafe locations, define community problems and develop solutions that they implement.
Approximately 15 middle school students (7th and 8th graders) at each of the four Salt Lake City middle schools participate in an after school program sponsored by the Salt Lake City Police Department and Salt Lake Community Education. The students attend a 9 week course meeting two days a week for two hours after school. The curriculum includes hands on activities, field trips, guest speakers, interviews and career studies. There are 18 lessons provided for the course, each lesson has at least two objectives, including activities. Each course can be modified to fit the needs of the class participants. Each lesson has a specific KEY or theme with an assignment for the next meeting. Students collect the KEYS over the nine week course by completing assignments. The last meeting is a celebration where lessons are reviewed and the final keys are presented . Students will be given beads for a necklace, key charms for a bracelet or some type of meaningful trinket. The students will take a pledge stating their ability to understand the KEYS that open doors to a successful future.
2. When was the program created and why?
Salt Lake City has experienced a significant increase in risk factors for juveniles over the last several years, as documented by the Salt Lake City School District in their annual Demographic Report. The statistics have demonstrated that Middle school students are at risk due to the increases in transition and mobility, poverty and low school success. There has been an increase in violence, demonstrated by the increases in drive-by shootings. The school district has not traditionally provided after school programs or intramurals activities for middle school age youth.
The program was created last year to address these problems The purpose of YES! is to develop a clear and cohesive youth prevention strategy for the Salt Lake City Police Department by bringing existing prevention services under one united umbrella, enhancing existing services to target middle school students and creating new opportunities to involve law enforcement officers in prevention programming for juveniles. The YES! Program is coordinated out of the Community Support Division of the Police Department.
3. How do you measure the programís effectiveness?
The measurement used is the number of students who attend all the classes, and who participate in other activities and stay out of trouble. We expect that it will take several years of tracking before we know the full potential of this program. We monitor the number of youths who have completed the courses, and the number who have gone on to other programs such as urban scouting or peer court. We also are looking closely at the youth crime rate during after school hours to discover if there is a decrease. Preliminary data from both the number of students who complete the program and crime data seem to show that this program is off to a successful start.
4. How is the program financed?
The Salt Lake City Police Department applied for and was awarded a Bureau of Justice grant in the amount of $38,000.
5. How is the community involved in the program, if at allHow has the community responded to the program?
The community is asked to participate and/or teach some of the activities that the youth participate in. In coming years, it is hoped that more community members will assist in the program.
6. Contact person:
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
Copyright © 1999, US Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.