Students Learn to Become Peer Leaders in Violence Prevention

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Six Gateway Community College (GCC) students from the Human Services Degree Program and the Peace and Conflict Studies course participated in a March 1 workshop at GCC on training young people to become peer leaders in violence prevention. Laurie Jo Wallace and Mo Barbosa, of Health Resources in Action Advancing Public Health and Medical Research in Boston, facilitated the workshop.

The workshop focused on communication, personal responses to violence and conflict resolution. It also provided attendees with opportunities to develop skills for working with youth and youth groups and providing leadership roles for young people. Twenty- six participants came from New Haven community action agencies and the City of New Haven Youth Services Department.

The six GCC students  (Tishawna Akerson, Charlie Stevens, Summer Martin, Darice Hill, Elisabeth Robinson and Latoya Gallimore) and Jonah Cohen, GCC General Studies coordinator and Human Services professor,  had the chance to share important insights with those working the field. 

“I received a lot of information and was able to meet a lot of people who will point me in the right direction to work with youth,” Hill said. “I have already set up meetings with New Haven Family Alliance and Community Mediation."

Summer Martin added that she thought it was important that agency leaders valued young people’s input not only at the workshop but at their community agencies as well, as they shaped youth violence prevention programs.  “I liked when the suggestion was made to have more young people on job search committees for positions in the community to work with teens," she said.

Sponsored by the City of New Haven Youth Services Department, in partnership with Community Mediation, Citywide Youth Coalition, the Consultation Center and Gateway Community College, the event was organized by Caprice Taylor, former director of New Haven Youth Services and Carol Brutza, GCC Social Science, Peace Studies and literacy.

Brutza said that while the topics were very serious in nature, “the participants truly enjoyed the day’s activities and wished the facilitators could return. They balanced serious discussions and activities with humor and skill.”