Project HOPE aims to reduce and suppress youth gang activity and violence by developing strategies to decrease gang violence in Newburgh’s most depressed and crime-ridden neighborhoods. The program is modeled after Chicago’s BUILD (for Broader Urban Involvement and Leadership Development) program founded on the principle that youth join gangs because they lack other, more constructive opportunities and outlets (AREA 12).
The program is organized to develop the capacity of community workers, who establish rapport with gang-involved youth and serve as positive role models.
The program has three components:
1) life coaching
2) family capacity building
3) after school pro-social development.
In this program, fifty youth have been identified and referred through Orange County Department of Probation, Social Services, and/or the Police Department as “at-risk” and gang involved youth. An identified life coach provides a strength based, wraparound modeled assessment and supportive services. Assessments, services and mentoring may include families and other non-familial supports available to each at risk youth. This process is coupled with family and parenting capacity building effort.
Youth also participates in after school programming including an array of services designed to encourage academic advancement and positive social behavior. Activities provided by Hoops Express and contracted organizations as an expansion of the City of Newburgh’s 21st Century Learning Centers Collaborative Youths are also rewarded for their accomplishments through supplemental trips and activities.
Project HOPE is evaluated by a private firm, utilizing an assessment tool modeled after the NYS Network’s Quality Assessment Tool ensuring the program meets its’ mission and outcomes. Youth are also monitored through their school attendance and performance through YouthServices.Net; a quality assessment tool.