By: Sharnice Jones, Coalition Director
18 Degrees is expanding our work with young people in Pittsfield Community Connection and West Main Connection programs. Coalition is a grant-funded gun violence prevention program awarded through the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Coalition works directly with young people affected by gun violence by delivering evidence-based prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery services. We focus on six core areas: street outreach, comprehensive social needs assessment and referral, mentoring, mental and behavioral health services, workforce development, and community engagement and mobilization.
These six core areas are trauma-informed and address the racial inequities that underlie the issue of gun violence and help young people develop a wide range of new skills and behaviors that support them in becoming healthy, productive adults.
Coalition will focus our work with young people between the ages of 17 – 24. We will use evidence-based approaches that are proven to be effective at reducing violence among young people. These approaches include relationships with caring adults, building a sense of safety and trust, and linking individuals to needed health, mentoring, education, and job services. Through a public health approach, Coalition sees violence as a preventable health problem that can be addressed at the state, community, and individual levels.