This week – March 19-23 – is National Youth Violence Prevention Week, a weeklong opportunity to raise awareness and educate students, teachers, school administrators, counselors, school resource officers, school staff, parents, and the public about youth violence and what each of us can do to help prevent or reduce it.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, “homicide is the third leading cause of death for young people ages 10 to 24 years old.” Furthermore, in a 2015 nationally representative sample of youth in grades 9-12, nearly a quarter of students reported being in a physical fight in the 12 months preceding the survey.
Additionally, in 2014, 501,581 young people ages 10 to 24 were treated in emergency departments for injuries sustained from physical assaults. And youth violence isn’t at all unknown in Louisville, where reports of shootings between young people, fights on school buses or at bus stops, are all too common.
In fact, Louisville leaders gathered this morning in the California neighborhood to announce plans and initiatives to help reduce youth violence. And events are planned at various schools and youth-serving non-profit organizations during the week.
Reducing youth violence is an everyday commitment at Family & Children’s Place, where two programs – Family & School Services and the PAL Coalition – integrate violence reduction and mitigation strategies into every lesson. Students learn coping skills; get help with homework, socialization and mediation skills.
Students also have the chance to talk openly about the issues they face, to, play games, and staff works hard to provide alternatives in the hours after school, when students are most at risk of getting into or encountering trouble.
With the support of national premier youth-serving organizations, recognitions for each day of this week will focus on a specific violence prevention strategy, including knowing the signs, promoting respect and tolerance, being an upstander, resolving conflicts peacefully, and uniting in action.
You also can visit nationalsave.org/NYVPW to access activities, information, and resources you can use to help spread news about National Youth Violence Prevention Week.
Youth violence is a significant issue facing young people on a national scale, so it’s up to each of us to do whatever we can to reduce the risks for young people and make neighborhoods and communities safe.