Mayor Chris Coleman joined with Saint Paul Police Chief Tom Smith and community leaders today to launch a new citywide youth effort called the Saint Paul Youth Intervention Initiative. The program uses a multifaceted approach to early intervention and positive redirection of at-risk youth, utilizing community ambassadors, staff that are culturally relevant to the youth they serve, and new services targeted to meet the needs of young people.
“This initiative is one of the most important things we will do for Saint Paul’s youth,” Mayor Coleman said. “Catching our kids before they turn to activity they will regret, and giving them positive options and opportunities—that’s a crucial part to curbing youth violence and making a real difference at the community level.”
After a successful pilot last year, city officials will team up with the YWCA Saint Paul to invest $800,000, much of it privately raised, into a citywide expansion of the program. In addition to community ambassadors, who will spend time in areas with increases in youth crime, the funds will be used to provide services to youth, including individualized plans to meet each youth’s needs, expand hours at seven local recreation centers, provide jobs and job-readiness skills for youth, and more.
“Empowering our community and our young people to make positive changes in one another’s lives is at the heart community policing,” said Chief Smith. “In the long run, it is these partnerships that will prove to be most effective in addressing and reducing crime in our communities.”
“We are honored to be working with our esteemed partners to continue investing in Saint Paul youth. Together, we have an exciting opportunity to enhance the lives of young people and their families,” YWCA Saint Paul Chief Operating Officer Billy Collins said.
The program began June 2, with most of the services operating year-round.