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CYS’s New Community-Healing Collaboration

CYS is proud to announce its participation in the East Side Community Healing Collaborative, in partnership with four community-based organizations, designed to reduce youth violence in South Los Angeles’ Eastside. Thanks to $2.1 million in support from the California Violence Intervention and Prevention Grant Program (CalVIP) administered by the Board of State and Community Corrections and a first-year matching grant of $50,000 from Supervisor Holly Mitchell, the project will provide critical supports to equip and empower community-led peacebuilding efforts.

The challenge to the Healing Collaborative was succinctly expressed by member organization 2nd Call’s Executive Director, Skipp Townsend. Townsend asked, “How do we re-write the response to anger, frustration and bitterness? People are acting out when they are upset. The violence is not all gang related. Most incidents are more spontaneous and impulsive…when anger and guns collide.”

Decades of experience among the member organizations show that community-led and community-based solutions can reduce violence with strategically targeted prevention and de-escalation and intervention efforts that resolve disputes and urgent needs for support before violent incidents occur.

The immediate goals of the new Collaborative are to identify teens at highest risk for imminent engagement in violence (as either perpetrators or victims) and provide them and their family with extensive supports to address the underlying triggers and needs along with immediate safety planning. The program includes training trusted “credible messengers” to support de-escalation, conflict resolution, and peacemaking techniques.

CYS’s contributions to the Collaborative will include case management, restorative justice mediation, and family mediation, all proven to heal individuals and families, create community cohesion, and break the cycles of violence, incarceration, and re-victimization.

CYS Executive Director Jessica Ellis sums up the Collaborative’s far-reaching aims and its hopeful message, “We can all learn skills for collective healing and supportive accountability to create peace together.”

Stay tuned for more developments of the Collaborative. If you have roots in South LA, East of the 110 and want to volunteer, click here.


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