DC to deploy ‘violence interrupters’ as part of summer safety program

WASHINGTON — Whether it’s work or play, D.C. has plans to help keep kids and young adults occupied this summer and a new training program that’s being launched aims to help keep everyone safe.

In a news conference Monday, city officials announced “violence interrupters” will be on D.C. streets this weekend after receiving 40 hours of mediation training.

The interrupters come from three community organizations that have done similar work in the past and are aware of the history and neighborhood context of issues that might arise.

“So when we hear information, or we know things are about to take place for whatever reason that we can go in through relationships with the community,” said Safer Stronger DC Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement executive director Del Mcfadden. “It’s very important that we prevent these situations as well.”

The current training group of about 45 people will result in between 18 and 22 people being assigned across city wards. Another training session is planned for September.

As the program continues, Mcfadden said evidence-based “best practices” will be developed locally and collected from international sources.

“There’s a lot we have to learn, so it takes time to get to where we want to be capacity-wise,” Mcfadden said.

$1M for Ward 8 recreation centers

Numbers of city programs will target needy children.

“There are 300 people in Ward 8 on a waiting list for camp slots,” said D.C. City Administrator Rashad Young said. “We have 500 youth in homeless shelters across the city who aren’t in summer camp.”

Activities this summer will include Department of Parks and Recreation-sponsored fishing trips and additional basketball tournaments, family and teen nights at city recreation centers and neighborhood visits from the department’s “mobile recreation van” in Ward 8.

“We’re going to take trips and youth retreats to Camp Riverview,” Young added.

Simon and Savoy Elementary Schools will have new summer enrichment programs. A $1 million investment will add staff, equipment, and programming at recreation centers throughout Ward 8 and go toward improving conditions at Ferebee Hope Recreation Center.

Summer jobs

D.C.’s summer jobs program will train and employ nearly 12,000 teens and young adults this year who are 14 to 24 years old.

If young people are unable to participate in the six-week Mayor Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program, the city also is offering opportunities through the D.C. Out-Of-School youth program and D.C. Career Connections.

1000 Opportunities initiative

In communities east of the Anacostia River that are disproportionately impacted by unemployment and violence, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said the city’s goal is to help 1,000 people get work training and work experience over the next 90 days.

Subsidized employment programs include tuition for the DC Infrastructure Academy that offers paid training for Commercial Driver’s Licenses, utility workforce skills and Automotive technician training.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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