12-Week After-School Program Will Teach 120 Students in Six Boston Middle Schools About Gun Violence Prevention
Attorney General Maura Healey this week announced a new innovative partnership with the 3Point Foundation and UMass Boston aimed at preventing and reducing youth gun violence in the state’s urban areas. A kickoff for the program was held at the Martin Luther King Junior K-8 School.
The AG’s Office has provided $45,000 in grant funding to launch the “Got Game” Youth Anti-Violence Partnership, a 12-week after-school program that will provide 120 students from six Boston middle schools an intensive curriculum focused on gun violence prevention. The curriculum – designed by UMass Boston Professor Joan Arches of the College of Education and Human Development’s Curriculum and Instruction Department, in partnership with the AG’s Office and the 3Point Foundation – incorporates writing, civic engagement, and basketball to reinforce classroom learning and deter students from engaging in violent behavior outside of school.
“Gun violence is a public health problem that impacts some of our most vulnerable communities, and young people are especially at risk,” said AG Healey. “We are excited to partner with the 3Point Foundation and UMass to launch this new initiative because we know that in order to end gun violence in our communities we need to break the cycle of violence before it starts.”
“The 3Point Foundation seeks to better the lives of Boston’s youth through positive reinforcement both inside the classroom and on the basketball court and we are thrilled to be partnering with AG Healey and UMass Boston on this innovative initiative that we believe will make a difference for our city and for our young people,” said Neil Jacobs, president and co-founder of the 3Point Foundation. “This partnership will help provide Boston students with the tools they need to affect change in their communities.”
“The University of Massachusetts Boston is pleased to partner with the attorney general and the 3Point Foundation on this important initiative,” said Ed Lambert, vice chancellor for government relations and public affairs. “We applaud AG Healey’s continued leadership on proactive violence reduction and her partnering on issues affecting youth. As Boston’s public research university, we embrace our special obligation to ‘stand with the city’ and serve.”
In discussing how she developed the curriculum, Arches said, “Every step of the way we have been guided by dialogue with our partners in the Attorney General’s office, Boston Public Schools, and most importantly from the youth who have participated in our after-school programs. They have influenced our thinking from the start. It is their knowledge, experience, and feedback that created what we are rolling out today.”
The “Got Game” curriculum will promote problem solving, teamwork, and self-confidence to empower students to promote anti-gun violence practices and serve as agents of change in their own communities. Students will learn to identify different types of violence and what can be done to prevent violence in their own family, school, and community. Each class will be taught by a teacher from the participating school and at least two UMass Boston students from across disciplines. Some of the UMass Boston students are fulfilling course requirements – others are volunteering or participating as part of work-study.
The six Boston middle schools that will be part of the pilot program include:
- Sara Greenwood K-8 School
- Martin Luther King Jr K-8 School
- Lee K-8 School
- Davis Leadership Academy
- Match Charter Public School
- Epiphany School
Monday's announcement builds off of a successful anti-violence youth summit and basketball tournament the AG’s office and the 3Point Foundation hosted at UMass Boston in April 2016. At the tournament, students from the Boston area wrote letters to AG Healey and her team with detailed suggestions on how to prevent gun violence in their communities. The letters overwhelmingly suggested that students needed more after-school programs to help address the issue of violence in their communities. There will be another youth summit at UMass Boston this April as part of a continuing partnership with UMass Boston’s Division of Athletics and Recreation, Special Projects and Programs.
The new initiative is a continuation of AG Healey’s commitment to equip people with the tools they need to acknowledge and address violence. In September 2015, the AG’s Office and the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation launched Game Change: The Patriots Anti-Violence Partnership, which is currently in its second phase and is providing direct trainings on preventing relationship violence to more than 1,000 high school students across the state.