Today, East Harlem anti-recidivism organization Getting Out and Staying Out (GOSO), which works to empower court-involved youth and young men returning from Rikers and other correctional institutions to stay out of the criminal justice system, officially launched the new East Harlem Stand Against Violence East Harlem (S.A.V.E) program site at 91 E 116th St.
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Eric Cumberbatch of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, GOSO President and CEO Mark L. Goldsmith and S.A.V.E. Program Director Chris Foye were on hand to give remarks and to host an open house for community members to learn about S.A.V.E. programs. Foye, who has partnered with entities including the Department of Probation and Carnegie Hall to provide programming to at-risk youth and has been an outspoken advocate against gun violence after his own 13-year-old son was killed by a stray bullet, is leading this initiative for GOSO, an East Harlem organization dedicated to helping young men all over the City create a crime and violence-free future.
“Getting Out and Staying Out has begun a vital move toward reducing recidivism and changing youth culture by bringing Stand Against Violence East Harlem (SAVE) and the ‘Cure Violence’ model to our community,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Partnering the formerly incarcerated with at-risk youth to act as mentors in directing them away from dangerous situations is an innovative method of hyper-localizing change in high-need communities across the city. When the City Council began funding the Crisis Management System, this is exactly the kind of development we hoped would flourish. I applaud the administrators of GOSO and SAVE for their matchless work in helping to improve the safety of the East Harlem neighborhood.”
Stand Against Violence East Harlem (S.A.V.E.) utilizes the Cure Violence approach to empower high risk youth ages 16-24 to make positive changes. Cure Violence is an evidence-based public health approach to violence prevention that works with communities that have high levels of gun violence. The strategy leverages the experiences of members of the community to do outreach, including people who have been directly affected by gun violence and “violence interrupters,” young people who have formerly engaged in high-risk activities who act as credible messengers of an anti-violence message in order to prevent and reduce youth violence. S.A.V.E’s aim is to mobilize communities to change the mindset of high-risk youth, link them to supportive services and ultimately reduce shootings in East Harlem. S.A.V.E. will be run by successful anti-recidivism organization GOSO, which serves high-risk individuals throughout NYC by offering alternatives to incarceration, including targeted interventions and services, to stop young people from going back to jail and help them achieve positive goals.
“We have seen shooting incidents drop to an all-time low in New York City through strong and effective data-driven policing along with bolstering the strengths of community based organizations to provide critical resources. But we know we must do more,” said Eric Cumberbatch, Executive Director of Community Engagement at the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. “Working jointly with the City Council, Cure Violence organizations like Stand Against Violence East Harlem and young people themselves, this Administration is committed to building healthier communities by giving youth the tools to resolve conflict without the use of guns.”
“It’s been GOSO’s mission for the past 13 years to help young men reentering their communities fulfill their goals of staying out of jail by offering alternatives and early intervention, and I’m proud that GOSO will be able to expand this mission through S.A.V.E.,” said President and CEO of GOSO Mark L. Goldsmith. “S.A.V.E. uses the evidence-based public health model Cure Violence to target East Harlem young people at risk for violence and incarceration and derail them from that track. Thanks to the crucial support from Harlem Speaker Mark-Viverito and the City, GOSO is able to ensure that S.A.V.E. will be out in the community every day, mitigating conflicts, offering alternatives to high-risk young people and working to reduce gun violence in East Harlem.”
“As a parent who lost a child to a stray bullet in Harlem, I have spent many years in the gun violence prevention movement working to change the mindset that killed my 13-year-old son, and I am proud to be working with GOSO to run S.A.V.E.,” said S.A.V.E. program director Chris Foye. “We work directly with our high-risk young people to deescalate situations where violence is likely, help them find alternatives and connect them to the supportive services they need. I look forward to working hard with our motivated, dynamic team toward our goal of keeping our community safe and reducing gun violence in in Harlem.”
For more information, go to www.gosonyc.org.