Friday, July 21, 2017

Shannon Community Safety Initiative Makes Strides in Holyoke


As one of eleven Charles E. Shannon Grant recipients, the Greater Holyoke Area stakeholders have been partnering since 2012 to address gang and youth violence in both Chicopee and Holyoke.

The strategies the Shannon Initiative implements include education and employment opportunities, case management and street outreach or intervention, positive youth development and recreation, and coordinating a law enforcement response through suppression.
In total, the Shannon Initiative has served 1,939 youth across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and has allocated approximately $480,000 towards the strategies previously mentioned.

Due to these programs, the Greater Holyoke Area has seen a decrease in simple assaults and robbery in youth. The past four years has seen a drop in simple assault arrests by 11.5% and a drop in robbery arrests by 42.0%.

The following are partners working together to address these issues: the Holyoke Police Department, both the Greater Holyoke & Chicopee Boys and Girls Clubs, CareerPoint, the NEARI/Jumpstart Program, the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, the Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative Basketball League, Holyoke High School, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

“The Shannon partners offer a range of services that serve young people in a productive manner – helping to get them on a positive path to making better decisions for themselves and for their community.  The Program is about improving youth engagement and decreasing risk for violence and gang involvement, by providing youth with meaningful positive experiences, increased educational opportunities and connections to job prospects.” states Eileen Cavanaugh, the President of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke.

In their next steps towards improving the Holyoke/Chicopee community’s public safety and decreasing youth violence, the Shannon Initiative will be distributing a Community Assessment Survey to engage the citizens of the surrounding neighborhoods and focus energy towards providing resources to combat the problems residents see holding back their youth.

“There’s no question that the work the Shannon partners have done in Holyoke has made an impact,” says Mayor Morse. “By involving parents and youth in the community as well as a variety of different stakeholders, the initiative has been able to make great strides in workforce opportunities, public safety, and education. I’d like to thank all of the local partners for their contributions to this initiative. Even though we know that these things take time, I believe the decrease in violence and arrests we have seen thus far is a clear indication that we are on our way to building a much safer and successful community.”

To learn more about the Shannon Initiative, please visit: http://www.mass.gov/eopss/funding-and-training/justice-and-prev/grants/shannon-csi/

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