Violence Prevention & Community Wellness Initiative:

UDC has been tapped to develop a four-week hybrid gun violence prevention certification program for the Violence Prevention & Community Wellness Initiative. To jump-start the curriculum design, UDC retained content expert Dr. Jason Willis to lead the curriculum’s overall design and incorporate insights, information, and consideration of theories, strategies, applications, and community practices with inputs from UDC faculty, recommended local experts, and participating DC government agencies (employing Violence Interrupters) in September 2021.

The hybrid certification at UDC had its inaugural cohort in July 2022. It is targeted to train cohorts of Violence Interrupters (250-300 District employees). The framework and curriculum will cover the following topics (based on input from UDC faculty, local experts, DC agencies in September 2021):

  • Mindfulness, meditation
  • Violence Prevention
  • Gang Intervention Partnership
  • Cease-Fire
  • Restorative Justice
  • Professionalism
  • Street Law
  • Youth Development

Participants will be equipped with knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) such as:

  • Adequate knowledge of court-involved systems and other service care systems in the District of Columbia area (e.g., DOES, RSA, DBH, etc.)
  • Ability to connect with and provide empathetic, nonjudgmental, culturally, and linguistically competent support to youth, young adults, and families
  • Experience providing life coaching and support in a legally paid capacity, or informally as volunteers
  • Flexible schedules with the ability to work evenings, weekends and on-call
  • Computer literacy and the ability to complete required data entry
  • Adequate verbal and written communication skills
  • Understanding of service systems including education, mental health, child welfare, etc.
  • Vast familiarity with District of Columbia communities and resources

The courses will leverage criminal justice, restorative justice, professional counselors/social workers, and content experts in DC and beyond.

The final curricular design and certification program will be evidence-based and incorporate:

  • Common language
  • Field experiences
  • Guest speakers
  • Case studies/simulations