Mayor William A. Johnson, JR.


1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.

Pathways to Peace (PTP) is a street-level team of outreach workers which channels young City residents toward an array of community resources to prevent youth violence. PTP is a response to statistics showing that an increasing number of young people are resorting to violence as a way of life. The City recognizes the critical need to provide young people with non-violent alternatives and the services necessary for their survival. Pathways to Peace is part of a comprehensive effort to improve public safety. The PTP team goes into targeted neighborhoods to assess the needs of youth and link at-risk youth with appropriate services. PTP also monitors the young participantsí progress to ensure that these at-risk youth become productive citizens.

The Pathways to Peace team provides outreach to young people throughout the City, utilizing whatever services and resources may be necessary to assist them in making life-shaping decisions. Pathways to Peace collaborates with all available community resources, including schools, families, employers, health professional, law enforcement agencies, and other service providers. Streets in all sections of the City are generally covered during the hours of 3-11 p.m. In addition, team members also schedule late evening or early morning contacts at the convenience of youths and their families. The PTP team visits schools during school hours.

2. When was the program created and why

The PTP team hit the streets in April 1998. Pathways to Peace was formed by the Mayorís Office to address the growing number of youths who are "at risk" of considering crime and/or violence as options because important needs in their lives are not being met. PTP is designed to respond quickly to their needs, concerns, and crises and to help them gain both a sense of belonging and access to the resources around them that nurture positive growth. Pathways to Peace is intended to fill a pivotal role in helping individuals, families, and others work together to prevent young lives from "falling through the cracks" of our social system.

3. How do you measure the programís effectiveness?

Violence itself is the primary measure of effectiveness; that is, the program is deemed successful when youth without violence who are referred to services remain nonviolent, and youth with previous violent behavior have no further recurrences after being connected to the appropriate services.

4. How is the program financed?

The program is financed through city general funds.

5. How is the community involved in the program?

Citizens and neighborhood groups often refer "at risk" youth to Pathways to Peace.

6. What lessons can be learned from this program?

(a.) Important for Mayorís office to work closely with neighbors and community to rid streets and schools of violence; (b.) Important to target high-risk youth as early as possible; (c.) Important to focus on younger kids (ages 13-21) in school settings in order to teach conflict resolution and make them understand the statistics on violence in order to change their perceptions on violence.

7. Contact person:

Earl Isaac, Mayorís Office, 716-428-6339

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The United States Conference of Mayors

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