Community Safety: TO Wards Peace
TO Wards Peace Project (TWP) is a community-led model that focuses on interrupting and intervening in community violence. This pilot draws on the lived experiences of affected communities to develop and implement effective community engagement approaches, innovative communication tools, and social media strategies geared at violence intervention and interruption. Community residents, leaders, youth, and adults with lived experience of anti-black racism, trauma, and violence, in addition to, organizations, elders, and faith-based leaders were consulted and engaged in all phases of the design, development, build, communication, and evaluation of the pilot. TO Wards Peace takes a public health approach that includes data collection/analysis, determining the risk, identifying protective factors, and utilizing evidence-based strategies and programs to address violence at the individual, family, community, and societal levels.
To Wards Peace Project which is embedded in SafeTO, will combine community, social media, and hospital-based violence interruption. Rexdale Community Health Centre in partnership with Think 2wice, Youth Association for Academics, Athletics and Character Education, the City of Toronto, and other partners will oversee the development and implementation of the pilot in Rexdale and Jane & Finch.
TO Wards Peace Community Partners
Anchored and driven in the community by local health center; Rexdale Community Health Centre (RCHC), along with local anti-violence grassroots groups including, Think 2wice in Rexdale and Youth Association for Academics, Athletics and Character Education (Y.A.A.A.C.E) in the Jane & Finch neighborhoods, will hire Violence Disruption Workers with relevant lived experience to work on integrated teams consisting of community and City of Toronto resources.
These integrated teams will identify escalating situations of risks and points for violence intervention and interruption. Additionally, the teams will coordinate access to a range of resources and services to further mitigate the potential for violence and increase life-stabilizing protective factors.
Local anti-violence grassroots groups and other relevant agencies and organizations will identify cohorts of youth currently involved in or most vulnerable to violence. The members of the cohort are selected based on multiple risk factors that result in circumstances of elevated risk of harm, victimization, and/or engagement in serious crime or violence before being involved in TO Wards Peace.
Generation Chosen is the community partner within TO Wards Peace that is supporting Peace Projects in Black Creek (Jane and Finch) communities. Generation Chosen is a not-for-profit organization devoted to helping youth from underserved and racialized communities interrupt and examine intergenerational cycles of trauma and poverty.
Three Methods of Engagement
TWP Violence Disruption Workers
Local individuals with relevant lived experience and expertise will build rapport and constructively intervene with youth and their families involved in or at risk of involvement with violence and crime.
E-mediators will engage with different social media platforms to identify emerging online trends that have the potential to create real-life violence. Data gathered will also inform violence intervention efforts around the City. E-mediators will also create and share content that highlights positive aspects of the community, violence reduction supports and shift narratives that exist around violence and communities that are most often impacted.
Hospital Based Violence Intervention Program Case Manager
A case manager with lived experience will utilize a public health and trauma-informed care approach to engage survivors of gun violence at the bedside who are at increased risk for re-injury and violence enactment, navigate post-injury from hospital to community, and connect them to services that support a continuum of care and safety through city-funded partnership with Sunnybrook’s Tory Trauma Centre Breaking the Cycle of Violence with Empathy (BRAVE)
Peace Projects is the Community Investments portion of TO Wards Peace to help promote anti-violence initiatives, positive youth development and capacity building in Rexdale/Jane & Finch.
Youth-led groups will be awarded funding up to $10,000. Funding is intended for youth groups to facilitate their projects, creative ideas and initiatives that aspires to bring peace, cohesion and unity to disrupt violence and conflict in the community.
Peace Project applications open May 30th, 2023 and closes on June 19th, 2023
For more information & to apply visit: Peace Project Grant Guidelines & Application 2023
Stephanie Lynch, Rexdale Youth Peace Ambassador at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ruth Altaye, Jane & Finch Youth Peace Ambassador at: email@example.com