PROVIDENCE, RI (January 24, 2018) — The Providence Housing
Authority (PHA) and the North American Family Institute (NAFI) have delivered
another round of the Youth & Police Initiative (YPI) program for at risk
teen girls living in public housing. Ten (10) girls living in the PHA’s Hartford Park and Manton Heights family
developments along with a group of female police officers who regularly patrol
their neighborhoods, celebrated the completion of the YPI training program last
night at a graduation awards ceremony and dinner held at the PHA’s Thomas J.
Anton Community Center on Laurel Hill Avenue. Tonight’s graduation ceremony and
celebration was attended by participants’ family and friends, as well as
Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements and Captain Dean Isabella. Providence
Mayor Jorge Elorza was on hand to say a few words to the graduates and Governor
Gina Raimando delivered the key note address.
The month long program was carried out by a team from the
Massachusetts-based NAFI, who work to reduce crime in neighborhoods by
fostering better communication and positive interactions between police and
inner-city youth. These girls, together
with their police counterparts, trained together, participating in facilitated
discussions, team-building exercises and reality based scenarios to breakdown
stereotypes. PHA and police officials
hope that the initiative will help reduce juvenile violence, gang involvement
and tension between police and youth.
“The Providence Housing Authority is proud to assist in the
delivery of this nationally recognized program right here in Providence,” said
Melissa Sanzaro, PHA Executive Director.
“Since 2009, the YPI program has fostered better relationships between
more than 200 Providence youth and police officers. The program is an essential part of a healthy
community and the PHA applauds our participants, their families, ONE
Neighborhood Builders, the North American Family Institute and the Providence
Police Department who make this possible,” continued Sanzaro.
The Providence Police Department (PPD) covered the cost of
officer overtime for the training program. The YPI program was made possible
with RI Department of Health (DOH) Health Equity Zone (HEZ) grant funds
provided to the PHA by ONE Neighborhood Builders.
Founded in 1974, the North American Family Institute carries
out a diverse menu of more than ninety community-based programs in nine
states. Since 2005 more than 700 police
officers in Baltimore and all recruits from the Boston Police Department have
participated in NAFI’s Youth and Police Initiative.
Established in 1939, the Providence Housing Authority owns
and manages 2,606 units of public housing and is contract administrator for
approximately 2,500 units of Section 8 housing.
Approximately 58% of its housing stock is designated for families, with
the remainder reserved for elderly and disabled. To learn more about the PHA and its programs
go to www.pha-providence.com