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Our mission is to reduce the number of injuries and deaths due to injuries, 
through prevention, improved trauma care, and improved rehabilitation.

 The Violence Prevention Initiative has addressed a range of root cause issues from economic injustice, power and resource inequalities, family violence, lack of jobs, to availability of alcohol, availability of firearms and violence in the media.

March 28, 2003


 Circles of Peace --The California Violence Prevention Initiative

In 1992 the Board of Directors of the brand new The California Wellness Foundation decided to create a 10-year Violence Prevention Initiative to reduce youth violence in California. The foundation wanted to focus the insight, energy and expertise of people of very different backgrounds on a single goal--to create an environment in which young people could have safer, healthier, and less violent futures. As a foundation committed to "wellness," they framed the problem in terms of public health, and sought insight from public health history and practice. The first grants were made in April of 1993 and will end in March 2003 with the academic fellows program continuing until June 2003.

For the last 10 years, The Violence Prevention Initiative (VPI) has brought together people from different walks of life with different skills to address the problem of youth violence. The VPI consisted of four primary categories of endeavor: the Policy and Public Education Program; Leadership and Professional Development; Community Action Programs; and Initiative Support and Capacity-Building Program. This powerful coalition brought together in a circle of peace policy makers, opinion leaders, community leaders, community-based organizations, academics and researchers, media advocacy analysts, and young people themselves. 

The Trauma Foundation, as the Pacific Center for Violence Prevention, has served as the policy center for the Initiative since its inception. As an Initiative, we worked together to address the complex root causes of youth violence and to stop the gun violence plaguing our communities. During the course of the Initiative, from 1993 to 1998, California enacted historic gun laws--including city and county ordinances banning the sale of Saturday Night Specials or junk guns.  These were later followed by a statewide bill banning these cheap handguns. Initiative members built a coalition -- Prevention Works! --to organize to fund a statewide coordinated public health approach to violence prevention. Initiative participants worked with gangs in Santa Cruz and Los Angeles, in emergency rooms in Oakland and San Francisco, on the streets in Stockton and Sacramento. The Initiative brought together individuals who might never have known one another or worked together otherwise. We learned together; we told our stories; we shared successes and failures.  We are very proud of our accomplishments. This circle of peace has radiated throughout California and the nation, with amazing individuals and efforts affecting thousands of Californians! May the circles continue to radiate outward.

For more information:

The California Wellness Foundation

Berkeley Media Studies