With the threat of violence in the streets of Jacksonville urban core neighborhoods becoming more prevalent, the Families of Slain Children, Inc. Teens Rising Above Crime (T.R.A.C.) Program presented a class to urban youth to discuss the implications of youth violence and consequences.
Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office detectives Gregg Howard and Travis Oliver spoke to the youth on how behavior and attitudes affect crime int he community. The workshop topics included a leap of faith icebreaker, how to be cell phone savvy, sample bullet and gun showcase and a review of the student’s report cards.
FOSCI received funding for the grant through the City of Jacksonville. The T.R.A.C. program works directly with young people caught up in the cycle of violence. Using an interactive approach, teens receive firsthand experience into the tensest situations to discourage retaliation, diffuse hostilities, and provide pathways to a safer, healthier life.
The project trains adults and students from neighborhoods most affected by violence to learn to honor their own stories and to use their experience to make change. Youth also learn to speak to the media and to city leaders and are taught a youth/adult authored, six-session violence prevention curriculum. In an effort to “pay it forward,” they then present workshops to middle school students through-out the city.
“We tell all the kids that being a snitch is a good thing. When someone is facing time in jail, yes they will snitch,” said Detective Howard. “The topic of crimes thriving in neighborhoods continues when individuals do not speak out. Being aware and understanding that police are here to help can and will strengthen community awareness,” he said. Detective Howard. Shown at FOSCI headquarters are the officers with the T.R.A.C. student participants.