CITY OF DENVER, CO
Mayor Wellington E. Webb

COMBATING YOUTH VIOLENCE

Every City requires two things for success: public safety and strong schools. Therefore, the Mayor’s Office of the City and County of Denver has undertaken a number of major initiatives to address youth violence in schools and in the community at each therapeutic level. The Mayor’s Office of Education and Advocacy focuses on prevention, the Safe City Office, created in the Mayor’s Office and now housed in the Department of Safety, focuses on youth intervention and treatment. They bring together the resources of the City, the federal government and the community to direct Denver’s young people toward good citizenship.

Two new initiatives are both supported by Justice Department grants: one a prevention model, the Beacons Adaptation Project, and one a prevention and intervention model, High School Resource Officers.

BACKGROUND:

The focus of Safe City and of Education and Advocacy initiatives has been on structured extracurricular programs, leadership development, counseling and school tutorials. These activities resulted in a 25 percent reduction in youth crime since 1993. Among the many programs are:

  • Safenite Curfew and Diversion, $623,000 a year from General Fund, 5,000 youths;
  • Safe City community prevention grants, $1 million annually from General Funds,
  • Great Kids literacy grants, $500,000 a year for 3 years from federal block grants for literacy programs related to the return to neighborhood schools;
  • Summer Youth Jobs, $683,400 from vacancy savings, General Fund, for summer and after school jobs with the City for 300 14-18 year olds;
  • Club Denver middle school career exploration after-school clubs in all public middle schools; $300,000 a year, for more than 1,000 youth, in fields of arts, aviation, firefighters, medics, river and riverfront redevelopment and Teachers. Business Club Denver will start this year.
  • Mile High Scholars, an honors celebration for one child per grade per school at the end of each semester; $15,000 a year in private funds for 1,100 students kindergarten –12th grade, and for 6,000 family members and friends who attend the twice a school-year event.
  • Listo!, a pilot summer school bridge program for eighth graders going into ninth grade at North High, a largely Latino high school in northwest Denver, which has a 50 percent graduation rate. Funding for the first year was a mix of private grants and block grant funds for 35 youth. This project was conceived, developed and managed by Latino members of the Mayor’s staff and Cabinet.

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