As EYEJ expands, we look to reduce the gang violence that affects the neighborhoods of many CMSD students. We often hear students say that the poorer areas of Cleveland are […]
As EYEJ expands, we look to reduce the gang violence that affects the neighborhoods of many CMSD students. We often hear students say that the poorer areas of Cleveland are being forgotten. Our desire to help students avoid falling victim to violence led to our partnership with the Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance (CPA). The Alliance is an anti-crime initiative that is connected to Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland (BGCC). Here are 3 ways both EYEJ and the CPA are proactive organizations–and why that’s a good thing for the youth of Cleveland.
1. Meeting people where they are.
The CPA is largely composed of reformed gang members, which means the CPA has an intuitive grasp on the street-level violence that can occur in certain areas of Cleveland. As a result, the CPA can respond to problems before they devolve into violent altercations.
Additionally, the leadership of Sharyna Cloud, the CPA’s program director, has been a valuable asset. Sharyna has ample experience guiding gang members to social services and helping them re-integrate into the Cleveland community.
2. Demonstrating a strong belief in education.
Young people enter gangs for a variety of reasons, but often, a lack of educational opportunities or low educational expectations play a major role in future gang-related activity. Young people believe may believe they are not cut out for school, and are thus prone to believing gang life may be more advantageous. Both EYEJ and the Peacemakers Alliance work to show Cleveland youth the importance of education and the opportunities it can provide them.
3. Giving a sense of community.
EYEJ believes in both the power of education and the power of building positive relationships. By having our youth interact with a wide variety of discussion series speakers and volunteers, they can gain a better understanding of just how many people care about their well-being.
How are you promoting a stronger, brighter Cleveland? Let us know in the comments!