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Violence Prevention and Mentoring: Discussing What Works in Detroit

Violence Prevention and Mentoring: Discussing What Works in Detroit

On Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and the Big Brothers Big Sisters State Association of Michigan co-hosted a mentoring and violence prevention forum in Detroit, MI. Subject matter experts from various fields gathered in the Motor City to address the extremely important topic of youth violence prevention in surrounding communities.

“The violence prevention forum was a ‘move-the-needle’ event in regards to collaboration and collective impact,” said Dr. Philip Knight, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters Michigan Capital Region. “Strategic partnerships between government agencies and local Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliates were created for the purpose of intervening on behalf of the youth in difficult cities and situations.”

There was representation from Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies throughout the state of Michigan, as well as members of the Michigan State Police force. “It was important to start creative dialogue among all organizations present,” said Dara Munson, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit. “But it is key that we continue these conversations now that they have started. It’s not about money; it’s about ideas and synergy.”

Moderated panels and “world café” style meetings served as the primary methods of discussion. Once the issues were addressed in the small break-out sessions, the larger group convened again to exchange what they felt were the most crucial issues that needed to be addressed and how they all could work together to help influence a solution. Through all of the discussion, one fact remained constant: the importance of mentoring.

“The Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring model is an evidence-based approach to preventing juvenile delinquency,” said Francis Mendez, Director of Juvenile Justice for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. “Mentoring provides a positive adult role model to children who may not have that kind of figure in their lives, which can lead to better performance in school, improved decision making and better life choices.”

“We are very grateful for the work of Big Brothers Big Sisters,” said Barbara McQuade, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. “The work is immensely important to improve the lives of children in our communities.”

If you would like to do your part in shaping a positive future, volunteer to be a mentor, donate to support the life-changing work of match support specialists or find the method of involvement that is best for you.

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