Chief Academic Officer Announces Launch of the Violence Prevention & Community Wellness Initiative (VPCWI) & New Certificate Program
Chief Academic Officer Announces Launch of the
Violence Prevention & Community Wellness Initiative (VPCWI)
& New Certificate Program
Dr. Lawrence T. Potter, Jr., Chief Academic Officer of the University of the District of Columbia, announced the launch of a new initiative and certificate program created in response to the unsettling rise in violence in the District’s region. The “Violence Prevention & Community Wellness Initiative” (VPCWI) will train cohorts of “Violence Interrupters” (drawn from District agency employees, community-based organizations, and others who strive to help engender more positive outcomes through their work with the public). The curriculum will cover such areas as Youth Development, Gang Intervention, Restorative Justice, and Mindfulness, among other topics, and will help elevate the important skills, knowledge, and abilities (KSAs) that are proven assets for professionals working in this area. The program will be a cost-free, intensive four-week immersion that includes in-person/real-time and asynchronous (online) training that results in a certification from UDC in Gun Violence Prevention. The cost to employers would be the time their staff will need to attend classes on Mondays and Wednesdays on UDC’s Van Ness campus—and to allow some flexibility during the month it will take to complete the training.
Dr. Lawrence T. Potter, Jr., Chief Academic Officer, said, “The whole community will benefit from the training and expertise that participants will gain. This is another example of how the University can help to address emerging and critical needs of the District region. Violence knows no zip code, race, gender, religion, or other possible shield. One way is to provide those on the front-lines with the knowledge and skills to help prevent eruptions and better serve those communities most at risk. We are very proud to step into that effort.”
Dr. Jason B. Willis, who will direct the VPCWI, said, “The UDC Violence Prevention & Community Wellness Initiative (VPCWI) is an amazing opportunity for employers and participants of agencies vested in violence prevention. This UDC certification will promote enhanced educational advancement for participants, as well as increase the quality of workers in street outreach and violence intervention organizations. The goals are to: 1) develop a common language for violence intervention, 2) move from theory to practice, and 3) effectively learn how to operationalize best practices in critical violence incidents and relationship building.”
The VPCWI is a partnership between UDC and the Mayor of the District of Columbia, with funding from the American Rescue Plan Act. The first cohort will begin July 11, 2022, with subsequent sessions planned through the fall. For more information about the program and staff members, either scan the QR code below or visit https://www.udc.edu/academics/gun-violence-prevention/.