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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.

I think that people our age are portrayed by the media as violent, lazy and uneducated. I myself have held down two jobs, am going to high school full-time and take high school classes on the Internet. I would like to see, for once, something put forward to the public to let them know we are not lazy people. 
"Speak Out," MNet's online discussion group for youth.

As we help to raise our children's self-esteem, we also increase their personal power. When we encourage them to be confident, self-reliant, self-directed, and responsible individuals, we are giving them power.
Louise Hart










































June 18, 2002


Young People Making a Difference

We are all too familiar with stories of young people around the country who have shot someone or been involved in gang violence. Increasingly young people are being tried in our courts as adults. Some communities rush to build ever larger juvenile correction facilities.  The headlines reverberate daily with stories of  destruction, tragedy, and troubled youth. No wonder 62% of Americans believe that juvenile crime is on the increase or that Californians believe that young people are responsible for most violent crime, when in reality they were responsible for about 13%.

More than ever, young people in America need resources rooted in a public health model. What does that mean? 

  • Access to excellent education for all;
  • Programs for after-school, when the risk of being a victim or perpetrator of violence peaks for young people;
  • Opportunities to be part of and contribute to their communities;
  • Mentors;
  • Conflict resolution;
  • Job and leadership training.
There are many extraordinary people who credit access to these kinds of resources as crucial to their success later in life. Some of these people include: the artist Jacob Lawrence who attended Utopia Children's House in Harlem which offered after school care to children whose mothers were working as domestics across New York City; former Boston mayor, Raymond Flynn who attended the South Boston Boy's Club after school; actor Denzel Washington who went to the Mount Vernon NY Boys Club after school; and Andrew Young, civil rights leader and former US Ambassador to the United Nations. (New York Times article 1.9.02 "In some important ways, the day only starts at 3.") 

In fact, there are extraordinary young people making change in our midst right now. Across the nation they are organizing to change the way America is dealing with youth in trouble. In New York young people are arguing for alternatives to incarceration. "No More Youth Jails" is a coalition fighting the city's plan to spend $65 million dollars to expand youth detention facilities; in San Francisco young people in the group "Books not Bars" are part of a coalition fighting the expansion of the Alameda County Juvenile Hall. The Southwest Youth Collaborative in Chicago is fighting for the city budget to include more money on youth development and job training. (Christian Science Monitor story, 1.9.02 "Ex-delinquents seek rethink jail.") 

One of California's foremost organizations of young movers and shakers is Youth Radio. Based in Berkeley, California, Youth Radio promotes young people's intellectual, creative, and professional growth through training and access to media. Youth Radio students learn the basics of broadcasting and are exposed to a broad spectrum of media-related careers. Many of you have heard their commentaries on National Public Radio, Marketplace, Latino USA, Public Radio International. Youth Radio perspectives are also heard internationally through the BBC and CBC. Recently, Youth Radio won one of journalism's most prestigious awards, the Peabody Award. Young people who were trained at Youth Radio have moved on to careers at MTV, Berkeley's KPFA, National Public Radio, KCBS (San Francisco), and elsewhere. 

We owe it to our young people to invest in them continuously, for all of our futures. The Trauma Foundation is committed to fighting for investment in our youth, and also to highlighting the work of young people who are making a difference. If you are  interested in sharing information about young movers and shakers, email us at 

Organizations & Resources
Youth Radio 
Youth Radio promotes young people's intellectual, creative, and professional growth through training and access to media. Through hands-on practice, working relationships with industry professionals, and production of award-winning programming, Youth Radio students learn the basics of broadcasting. In the process, they're exposed to a broad spectrum of media-related careers. 

Co/Motion, a project of the Alliance for Justice
Co/Motion is a national program that helps organizations build their capacity to foster youth leadership in the design, implementation, and evaluation of action strategies addressing community problems. 

Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice 
CJCJ is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to reduce society's reliance on the use of incarceration to social problems. 

Annie E. Casey Foundations' Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiatives
The objectives of JDAI are to reduce the number of children unnecessarily or inappropriately detained; to minimize the number of youth who fail to appear in court or re-offend pending adjudication; to redirect public funds toward successful reform strategies; and to improve conditions of confinement. 

At the Table
At The Table is invested in getting young people "at the table" where decisions are made and was formed "to facilitate a coordinated, sustainable national youth participation movement."

Other useful links: California Community Based Organizations 

Barrios Unidos
Barrios Unidos aims to build a safer community by preventing and curtailing violence among youth. Focusing specifically on helping teens establish self-esteem and a sense of cultural pride and solidarity, BU provides alternatives--meaningful alternatives-- for youth. 

Community Wellness Partnership  

Community Wellness Partnership's goal is to build healthy communities through our youth leadership development programs and change public health policies with prevention advocacy efforts and youth violence prevention initiatives in the City
of Pomona, California. Our history reflects a “bottom up” grassroots movement cultivating youth leadership by preparing them to become future community activists. 

Inland Agency
A family of health promotion, violence prevention, and community-strengthening programs serving Riverside, San Bernardino, Inyo, and Mono Counties in California. 

Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women (LACAAW) LACAAW is a non-profit, multi-cultural, community-based volunteer orgranization. Our goal is the elimination of violence against women and children. 

West Oakland Health Council
The West Oakland Health Council is a non-profit organization providing primary care, mental health, and substance abuse recovery services to residents of North, 
East and West Oakland, Emeryville and Southwest Berkeley. Its mission is to improve the health and well-being of residents and to reduce morbidity, preventable 
disability and premature death in the community.