The Alliance for Peace: For a New Loíza (Alliance) has the goal of reducing violent incidents in Loíza and providing educational and employment alternatives that help guide youth human development. The alliance is made up of the Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico (FCPR), the Municipality of Loíza, Nuestra Escuela and Taller Salud.
The initiative benefits young people 15 to 30 years old who live in the Pueblo, Medianía Baja and Medianía Alta neighborhoods of Loíza – neighborhoods where past personal and/or family quarrels limit youth’s ability to move freely because of potential security risks.
The Alliance’s objectives for the period ending in December 2020, are:
• Reduce the number of contacts that participants have with the justice system.
• Increase the number of young people with High School Certificates.
• Increase the number of young people who are involved in legal income generation activities.
Taller Salud is the first contact that young people have with the Alliance Following the “CureViolence” evidence-based model, the organization assigns a “Community Outreach Worker” to provide individualized mentoring and support to each of the over 30 young participants in the program. Community Outreach Workers are community residents, whose profile incorporates their own experiences with violence in Loíza. Simultaneously, the organization also has a team of “Violence
Interrupters.” The main function of this personnel is the mediation of interpersonal and community conflicts, in order to prevent them from escalating and becoming acts of violence.
Youth participants who do not have a high school diploma are referred to the Nuestra Escuela in the Community Program. Nuestra Escuela is an alternative education project that values and empowers its students in their personal development process as positive social contributors. Through teachers that adapt this educational model to the community, referred youth can complete their High School degree within a period that varies between 3 months and a year and a half.
At least 40 young people who already have their High School diploma or plan to complete it during the program, will participate in community workforce development projects identified by the Municipality of Loíza. Some examples of potential projects include: community beautification brigades, public infrastructure and/or the coordination of community recreational activities.
In this Alliance, Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico provides leadership and coordination, while also identifying and assigning resources to complement funding granted by the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Challenge 2018 initiative.