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Published on Friday, March 1, 2013

Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll speaks to legislators about youth violence prevention

On February 27, Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll addressed the Senate and House chambers and spoke about the program he is developing in Washington communities to reach out to youth and prevent violence.

As coach for the University of Southern California, Carroll became aware of gang influence and violence in the community and spearheaded a youth violence prevention program in Los Angeles that he is now replicating and expanding in the City of Seattle. He hopes the program will spread to other cities and communities in our state and throughout the nation.

Coach Carroll started “A Better Seattle” in September of 2011, partnering with law enforcement, the YMCA of Greater Seattle, and Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative. The program hires street outreach workers, aiming to reduce gang and youth violence.

AWC, too, hopes the Legislature will help fight youth violence by continuing to fund gang prevention and intervention programs. In 2012, the Legislature recognized the serious impacts of gang violence on community safety, the economy, and most importantly, our youth. The state allocated $250,000 for gang prevention grants administered by the Washington State Partnership Council on Juvenile Justice (WA-PJCC).

Out of 13 proposals requesting more than $1 million, two grants were awarded. The first went to Tacoma Gang Project under the Human Rights & Human Services division of the City of Tacoma. The other went to Yakima County Gang Resistance Intervention Project under the Yakima County Juvenile Court. Both programs seek to reduce and prevent gang violence through a combination of prevention, intervention, suppression, and establishment of support structures for youth.

We have been working with key legislators to encourage the state to continue funding this grant program in support of these efforts. Earlier in the session, AWC developed a coalition letter asking for continued support and funding for gang prevention and intervention programs.

For more information, contact Candice Bock or Brittany Sill.

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