Teen Anti-Violence Alliance: Collaboration is Key

Rochester youth, particularly the 2,400 students EnCompass serves every year, are disproportionately affected by surging community violence. Thanks to Health Equity Award funding awarded by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, teens in the EnCompass Future Ready and Black Men Achieve programs will lead the Teen Anti-Violence Alliance (TAVA), and are poised to discover, influence, and pave pathways to change, hand-in-hand with community stakeholders. 

Ten teens, in collaboration with University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Department of Surgery and the City of Rochester will engage in nearly 200 hours of educational, mentoring, data collection, and outreach programming and contribute to public health initiatives including Stop the Bleed, Rochester Youth Violence Partnership, and City of Rochester efforts. Rochester students will meaningfully engage as “co-creators of solutions” to mitigate the growing violence they experience in their community. 

The Teen Anti-Violence Alliance will provide students with a greater understanding of structural racism, disparities and inequities, and their effects on community health and violence; evidence they discover will lead to awareness of these powerful forces and constructive action to confront and reduce inequities. They will infuse existing community efforts with youth voice through the development and execution of multi-media anti-violence content and campaigns.

Teens will receive coaching in interviewing, survey creation, communications, health promotion, and the use of multi-media tools to infuse their work with authentic, community input. 

Additionally, through anti-racism education, teens will explore the historical and structural contexts that have led to the disparities and inequities they experience within their community. This knowledge of their community's past and present will influence the design and delivery of their work.

Finally, the 10 teen leaders will develop forums and calendars to share their expanding knowledge, skills, and multi-media content with their 550 peers within EnCompass Future Ready, 2,400 students EnCompass serves, and the community at large. Peer, youth, and community feedback will influence the delivery and improvement of the Teen Anti-Violence Alliance.

Follow along as we capture the progress of the project from start to finish:

2.28.2023 - Students met with the University of Rochester Center for Teen Employment & Success team to go through expectations and hiring procedures - Interviews will happen the week of March 6th! 

3.20.2023 + 3.21.2023 - The TAVA kicks off with 2 workshops delivered by Anti-Racism Curriculum Project (CCSI) leaders Shane Weigand and Kesha James. Teens will engage in special programming related to health disparities and violence in Rochester. This learning will become part of the foundation for how they discover and create solutions to violence in their community, by understanding the root causes and contexts.

4.5.2023 - Students volunteered with InterVol Medical Supply, an organization dedicated to providing essential medical supplies to underserved communities.

4.17.2023 - 4.9.2023 - Students took deep dive into learning more about producing content with sessions focused on YouTube, Videography, and Canva. Students created a logo! 

5.3.2023 - TAVA made their way to the URMC Campus for the first time and participated in a scavenger hunt to familiarize themselves with their workspace moving forward. 

5.15.2023 - Dr. Caitlin Cook and residents from the Department of Surgery met with students for a roundtable discussion. 

5.17.2023 - Dr. Gestring presented the "Epidemiology of Violence" to students. A powerful presentation outlining the underlying causes of violence in our community. 

5.31.2023 - Students participated in their first medical field rotation! Each student shadowed a different medical professional based on their personal interest in the field. 

6.6.2023 - Camille Simmons and Dr. Caitlin Cook hosted a Stop The Bleed training at EnCompass. This powerful training aimed to equip participants with life-saving skills and knowledge in emergency bleeding control.

6.14.2023 - Students scrubbed in and got to tour the Operating Room with guidance from Dr. Cook. 

6.20.2023 + 6.21.2023 - Rashad Scott led students in another Videography & Editing session, equipping them to start their own content creation in July!