Enlace Street Outreach is one of three direct service programs of the Violence Prevention Department, which addresses the issue of community violence through prevention, intervention, and systems change. The Enlace Street Outreach team is made up of four full time outreach workers: Jesus, Gabriel, David and Cecilia. The Enlace Street Outreach team members are long-term or life-long community members who can relate to the experiences of youth in the community, especially those exposed to violence. Their commitment and passion for the youth and the community drives their total involvement in activities and conversations contributing to the reduction of violence in Little Village.
The program intentionally works with youth at-risk or gang involved to prevent and mediate violent incidents. The program specifically works to reduce the number of shootings and homicides in Little Village beats 1024 and 1031, but the team works across the Little Village community as both mentors and first responders. In their role as Outreach workers, staff dedicate long overnight hours to support youth; they mentor, run sports programs, coordinate arts activities, make referrals, create safe havens, and responding to emergency situations. Outreach workers spend long nights in hospitals and at the homes of families of shooting victims, providing every kind of support imaginable, while also working to prevent retaliation.
The interrelationship between violence in the home and violence in the streets is clear. This year staff developed their capacity further, attending a 40-hour domestic violence training at Mujeres Latinas en Accion and working within their team to develop processes for identifying and supporting domestic violence victims and families.
The cooperative and interdisciplinary character of the program make it able to provide opportunities, resources and services. Enlace Street Outreach works in collaboration with other community organizations, such as New Life Centers, Imago Dei, Beyond the Ball, Padres Angeles and numerous Little Village public schools, to combine their efforts in workshops, presentations and activities.
This summer, the Enlace Street Outreach team will provide an array of activities for youth in Little Village, such as: