The UDC’s Violence Prevention & Community Wellness Initiative – Gun Violence Prevention Certification Program is a 4-week full-time commitment. This commitment requires you to attend 2 days (Monday & Wednesday) of in-person instruction on the UDC Van Ness Campus from 9:30am to 4:30pm. There are 2 days (Tuesday & Thursday) of virtual learning assignments. This means that you can access the course material remotely/online at your convenience over a 24 hour time-frame. Friday is an experiential learning day in which you are asked to complete a learning activity within the community. Friday’s assignments will vary and will be detailed in the course syllabus. Currently, there are no evening offerings nor completely virtual learning opportunities for this certification.

Week 1 Summary

Week 1 of the University of the District of Columbia’s (UDC) Gun Violence Certification Program (GVCP) outlines violence prevention through the lens of theory, trauma, and identity. These components contribute significantly to the multiple modalities that violence interventionists/interrupters navigate throughout their work in desisting violence and building relationships in the community. While much of the work takes place in the community, there is also an examination of how interventionist/interrupter work is done in a hospital-based setting. Furthermore, approaches to street outreach as a viable public health model are highlighted in Week 1. The week culminates with a problem-based/experiential learning activity in the community and alongside a community partner, moving theory to practice.

Week 2 Summary

Week 2 content focuses on each partner organization’s internal operations, processes, and effectiveness. There is an examination of how to increase the safety and security of data, how to develop more robust Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) so that violence interventionists/interrupters (VI’s) can reflect the components of their hard work in a way that works in concert with those in the organization securing resources and reporting data. Embedded in the ability of VI’s to develop relationships to stem violence, week 2 covers some culturally responsive pedagogy and practice that assists with conversations in marginalized communities. Lastly, there is an experiential learning opportunity to work alongside program leaders to work on quality control for data gathering.

Week 3 Summary

The content for Week 3 aligns with entry-level criminal justice theory/concepts at the university level. It discusses theories, police and community relationships historically/contemporarily, 21st-century policing methods that are utilized to prevent violence in communities by law enforcement, and culminates with a field experience. Understanding the tenor/tone of the streets is paramount as VI’s are working to develop “in-roads” with those involved in initiating or reacting to violence. It is essential for street outreach and VI’s to be proactive in a space where law enforcement is often called reactive.

Week 4 Summary

Week 4 of the University of the District of Columbia’s (UDC’s) Gun Violence Certification Program (GVCP) highlights issues pertinent to youth and violence. Several techniques will be examined that youth can utilize in their school and home communities to help stem violence amongst their peers. A look at the school-to-prison pipeline, programs that do not reflect best practices, and additional theoretical knowledge should be considered when working with youth/juveniles. This week culminates with VI’s working with youth to develop their own violence prevention plan for their home/school communities.