The following summary of recent and future YHTP activities was presented at the agency’s Board of Directors meeting, held May 14, 2019.
- In addition to our two weekly classes at the Tennessee Prison for Women, YHTP has with TDOC for its “Survivor Circle” program, a public forum and information session for victims of violent crime. TDOC and YHTP held the first of these in Nashville last month, and there are plans to hold similar events statewide. It will be an excellent chance to expand our reach and enhance our services beyond Middle Tennessee.
- Meanwhile, YHTP was one of twenty agencies invited to participate in a forum re-entry efforts supported by TDOC and the NFL Hall of Famers during NFL Draft Week. This is in addition to our involvement in an NFL roundtable discussion on domestic violence and NFL policy.
- We trained 15 facilitators, bringing to 30 the number of facilitators trained on the Youth Impact Curriculum. This curriculum took over two years to develop, involving partnerships with over a dozen other agencies and stakeholders. The ongoing escalation of teen violence in Metro Nashville demonstrates both the need for this program and an opportunity for growth and development.
- The curriculum is currently in use with two groups in Shelby County. Oliver Williams, who participated in the September facilitator training session, took the program to Memphis where he is integrally involved with at-risk youth.
- Shelby County Schools is now using the program for offenders as an alternative in suspension. Experts consider keeping suspended children on campus far more effective than sending them away unsupervised. The school district is asking for more programs because at this time there have not been any re-offenders among participants. Teachers and principals are taking notice, as evidenced by letters received by YHTP.
- We currently have funding for this program through VOCA for two more years and are seeking opportunities for additional funding and partnerships.
- On a related note, YHTP is awaiting final word on a proposed VOCA grant to develop extensive statewide programming and messaging on domestic violence, collaborating with Family Justice Centers throughout the state. In preparation for anticipated rollout, I attended the 14th Annual Conference on Crimes against Women last month in Dallas (courtesy of a Metro grant) and found some wonderful information we can build into the program.
- Finally, our current VOCA grant on healthy relationships ends on June 30. We will continue to schedule and present sessions on domestic violence, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, and sex trafficking up until that date. If you know of a school group or community agency that might be interested in one of these presentations, please phone or e-mail Vladimir. Ideally, we would like to schedule these sessions ahead of June 30 so we can include them in this year’s report. However, we will also accept dates after July 1 to count towards the new grant’s numbers.
Children’s Memory Garden
- The Children’s Memory Garden project offers us another opportunity to address youth violence. Thus far, our efforts have led to the creation of a freestanding Metro committee to review all children’s homicides in Davidson County, housed under the Family Safety Center. YHTP is one of the committee’s designated participating agencies.
- YHTP continues to work with the survivors of children honored by the Garden. The Memory Book continues to be a source of solace for the families and a wakeup call for others in our community. Additionally, the agency hosted a luncheon for families of those honored during our “Voices from the Garden” event in March. During the luncheon, we secured counseling for a mother verging toward suicide as well as her three remaining children who are trying to understand the death of their brother. The father of another child discussed finding strength through mentorship of neighborhood children.
- This year’s Powerhouse event has helped increase our public profile. Thanks to all who helped put this year’s event, especially Jeff Bradford who assigned one of his staff to coordinate publicity.
Junior League of Nashville
- The Junior League has again chosen YHTP as one of their community partners. A recent donation by the League will support the translation of our Guide to Human Sex Trafficking into Arabic and Kurdish. Furthermore, they offered to take the lead in presenting the trafficking presentation to school-age children.
Facilitator and Training Update
- Tina Fox has joined us as YHTP’s Director of Education. Even though the position is a part-time position, Tina’s role is critical as she will make sure that our materials and presentations maintain the highest standards and will help interact with our facilitators.
- Our current roster of facilitators now includes Tina as well as Bonnie Beneke, Bijal Mehta, and Sharon Travis. All our facilitators are experts in their field. We contract with them to present our varied and sometimes overlapping presentations, allowing us to maintain a deep and significant reach in the community despite our small staff.
- This month we hope to begin planning for this year’s Powerfully Thankful event.
- We continue to seek funding to build an e-learning platform.
- We would like the capabilities to present our survivors on tape so their message can reach more people, without asking them to revisit their pain.
- HCA is providing us with two interns from Opportunity Now again this summer.