November 10, 2016

Promise Neighborhood director discusses youth violence at Cleveland City Council forum

Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood Director Lowell Perry Jr. recently participated in the “Community Conversation: Solutions for Addressing Violence” event hosted by Cleveland City Council. Perry was on a panel at the event to discuss current programs addressing ongoing violence in the Central community. The day-long event brought together members of the community and health care and community organizations to talk about ways to prevent youth violence in Cleveland.

Perry’s panel was led by moderator Wayne Dawson, news anchor for WJW Fox 8. The group talked about the importance of reaching kids at a young age to try to break the cycle of violence. They also discussed how jobs and creating opportunities for those people formerly incarcerated can provide a more appealing option than returning to the same cycle of criminal activity.

Perry talked to the group about how residents leading the change has been a successful strategy for the Promise Neighborhood and how that could translate into violence prevention. He also focused on the Central neighborhood’s strong schools and early learning centers.

“Any meaningful impact on violence prevention in neighborhoods will only come if residents themselves are intimately involved in the thought process around solutions and execution of key strategies. Our Promise Ambassadors are prime examples of residents taking action,” said Perry. “Access to quality education is also absolutely critical. Not only does training the mind prepare our young people for a future career, but it also opens up a new world of possibilities that may have appeared unthinkable to them in the past.”

The importance of working with families was also another hot topic during the panel. Andrea Martemus-Peters, MetroHealth and Dr. Edward Barksdale, University Hospitals, talked to the group about a new program that places “violence interrupters” in hospital emergency rooms. The violence interrupter meets with and counsels victims of violence while they are in the hospital. They also meet with victims family members to try to prevent retaliation and ongoing violence.

“We look forward to working with Councilman Reed and others to continue this community conversation in other parts of Cleveland, and hopefully inspire action city-wide around creating a viable cradle to career pipeline that leaves guns and violence out of the mix,” said Perry in his closing statement.

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, which is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System, is the lead convener of the Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood. Promise is a collective impact initiative that works to transform the educational and developmental outcomes of children in Central Neighborhood. Initiated in 2009, the Promise Neighborhood brings together many partners, including philanthropy, residents, community service providers and schools. The community-based Promise Neighborhood Advisory Board provides strategic direction with substantive input and guidance for the entire initiative.

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