Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $999,999)
Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore/Cambridge (BGCMB) proposes to reduce the incidence of school violence in Cambridge, MD through improved school safety and climate and will expand their capacity to address youth violence and victimization through school-based programming and interventions targeting student and community needs. In just one year, crime rates in Cambridge rose across the board. From 2019 to 2020, violent or potentially violent crimes such as murder (50%), rape (40%), aggravated assault (70%), robbery (75%) and motor vehicle theft (214%) all increased significantly. Of the more than 900 arrests made, 1 in 4 were juvenile arrests (2020 Uniform Crime Report).
The Club will implement programing to prevent youth violence, delinquency, and victimization for 1,300 youth, aged 6-18 attending Title 1 schools in Cambridge, Maryland. These services, in partnership with three local, low-performing schools, will result in a positive school climate that will enhance safety by reducing the risk of violence.
By prioritizing wellness for children at elementary and middle schools in Cambridge, this approach will promote a supportive environment focused on safety and encourages respectful, trusting, and caring relationships throughout the school community by directly linking the three schools with families and community-based organizations. Program activities and outcomes include:
Developing a school safety strategic plan through weekly meetings with schools and community partners.
Improving school capacity to prevent and intervene early to incidents of violence through the implementation of evidence-based curriculum and restorative justice practices, establishing a Parent Advisory Council, implementing educator trainings in Youth Mental Health First Aid, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), Restorative Justice practices, and Social Emotional Learning, and providing referrals to community health/wellness resources.
Expanding opportunities for family engagement with school personnel to mutually address risk factors or violence through BGCMB staff attending Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings and supporting caregiver’s understanding of school processes and staff attending school lunches/classrooms during school day.
Establishing a close connection between in school, out of school activities, and community resources/services ensures there is true alignment and intentional collaboration to improve outcomes for young people. To ensure this connection is in place, BGCMB will take the lead on bringing community organizations together; linking families, community partners, and the identified schools together to establish a positive school climate and reduce incidences of youth violence.