Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $1,000,000)
Through this project, Interface Children & Family Services (Interface) will implement its comprehensive violence prevention and intervention program, Learn, Engage, Advocate & Partner (LEAP), at the highest need middle and high schools in the city of Oxnard, California. LEAP will help equip students and parents with the tools needed to develop healthy communication, coping and conflict resolution skills and protective factors aimed at increasing their overall well-being and safety, as well as improve each school's ability to prevent and intervene early concerning incidents of school violence. LEAP activities include facilitating quarterly meetings of the multi-disciplinary Youth Violence Prevention Partnership Advisory committee (including student/parent representatives, Interface staff members, representatives from the Oxnard Police Department, Ventura County Behavioral Health, Ventura County Probation Agency, the District Attorney's Office and school staff); coordinating meet and greet presentations/events on campus for parents, teachers and administrators to begin to create trust among participants; and conducting 6-month follow-ups with student and parents to not only ascertain the student's current needs, but to also emphasize the partnerships that exists between schools and families. Interface will serve seven schools located in Oxnard, California that have the highest numbers of suspensions due to incidents of violence with and without injury, socioeconomically disadvantage students, and English language learners. Interface will measure the progress of student participants via data gathered through Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)/ Pediatric ACEs and Related Life-events Screener, Community Assessment Tool, and the Rosenburg Self Esteem Scale. Expected outcomes include increased capacity of participating schools to minimize risk of violence; clear communication channels established among all stakeholders/committee members, including law enforcement agencies, school personnel/administrators; development of meaningful youth and family partnerships that evolve and inform the project plan and budget; and an improved school climate that supports and respects all students, faculty, staff, and administrators.