Brooklyn Youth Against Violence

Founder of the Kings Against Violence Initiative, Dr. Robert J. Gores, stands with his team.

Founder of the Kings Against Violence Initiative, Dr. Robert J. Gore, stands with his team.

Set against the backdrop of sadness, great debate and urgency, one group is taking bold action to stop gun violence among American youth — a fast-moving and poisonous trend. The Kings Against Violence Initiative (KAVI) based in Brooklyn is a hospital-based, school-based and community-based organization that provides young people with safe alternatives to interpersonal violence by empowering them with knowledge and activities that highlight their potential.

KAVI views the issue of interpersonal violence through a unique lens. Rather than positioning itself as an anti-gang program that condemns this aspect of communities around Brooklyn, KAVI understands that this is often a necessary association for many young people’s survival. Instead of combating or denying these negative truths directly, KAVI provides services at the point of impact to victims and works to create positive influences that sway youth towards a brighter, violence-free future.

These positive influences are at the heart of KAVI’s theory of change and form the foundation of all programming efforts. KAVI aims to provide its program participants with increased self-esteem and confidence, positive role models and goals, awareness of opportunities outside of traditional gang life and the courage to pursue those opportunities. KAVI’s prevention and intervention-based programming consists of weekly workshops and activities built around the following themes: identity exploration, self-governing, conflict resolution and communication, peer mediation, goal development and critical thinking, life skills development and fitness. Currently, KAVI operates programs at the High School for International Arts and Business and the High School for Public Service.

A group of students practice capoeira with their instructor, Taagen Swaby.

A group of students practice capoeira with their instructor, Taagen Swaby.

The Kings Against Violence Initiative’s approach to its message and programming stems directly from the real life experiences of its Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Robert J. Gore. Dr. Gore was raised in Brooklyn and now works as an emergency room physician and clinical assistant professor at Kings County Hospital/SUNY Downstate. Through Gore’s life experiences living in many large cities and working as an emergency room physician in both Chicago and New York City, he witnessed firsthand the gory and severe effects of youth violence. The high number of patients that would come back as repeat victims really struck him. Dr. Gore made the decision to use his direct contact with this issue, and subsequent in-depth knowledge of its roots, to work on reversing the paradigm.

Since that moment of enlightenment, Dr. Gore has never looked back. KAVI is poised to make an immediate and long-lasting impact on communities throughout Brooklyn, eventually growing to include other counties, cities and countries where youth face similar interpersonal violence. To learn more about the vital work of KAVI, make a donation to support their efforts, or to volunteer with their programs to prevent youth violence, visit their website.

by Adrienne Rochetti, Co-Founder & CEO of Akimbo

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6 Comments

  1. Tad

     /  April 20, 2013

    I Love It!!!!

    Like

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  2. Rudolpho Enrique Jouv`ert

     /  April 21, 2013

    THIS SONG IS DIRECTED AT MY BLACK YOUTHS WHO I’M TRYING TO SAVE FROM FALLING IN LOVE WITH THE STREETS AND THE NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES OF DOING SO.

    LIKE DRUG ADDICTION, DROPPING OUT OF SCHOOL, UN-NEEDED TEEN PRENANCY AND PARENTHOOD, LONG TERM IMPRISONMENT AND VIOLENT ASSAULTS AND PREMATURE DEATHS.

    PPL, IF U’RE NOT DOING IT NOW, PLEASE HELP ME MAKE THIS POSSIBLE.

    WE CAN HELP MAKE THIS POSSIBLE IF AS A COLLECTIVE WE DRILL THIS INTO THEIR MINDS.

    DOING SO WILL NOT ONLY MAKE THEM AN ASSET TO THE COUNTRY’S THEY RESIDE IN BUT TO OUR PPL GLOBALLY.

    ELIMINATING THEM FROM THE FUTURE ROSTERS OF CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES, DRUG TREATMENT PROGRAMS, AND PREMATURE INTERNMENTS INTO BURIAL PLOTS.

    PLEASE HELP. THEY REPRESENT OUR FUTURE

    http://www.reverbnation.com/play_now/song_12862198

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  3. Reblogged this on Habari Gani, America! and commented:
    Brooklyn rises as always. Brooklyn has always been a neighborhood as opposed to a borough of people. We are the Avante Guarde.

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    Reply
  4. Check out, maybe you already are aware of, ‘Cease Fire’ in Chicago. Assoc. w/ U of Ill. Chicago campus.

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  5. Sade

     /  April 24, 2013

    Thank you for this! I am so happy to find out about this organization. I love the way they approach young people’s affiliations with gangs. I believe that this is a necessary approach, instead of the usual “why dont they just stop being dumb and joining gangs.” In my experience, many young men dont join or stay gangs or certain criminal enterprises because they think it’s the best idea ever, in the world. I think KAVI’s approach is a great starting point to help young people realize that even if they get into conflict, it doesnt have to result in them being gunned down or gunning someone else down. I wish KAVI much continued success!

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  6. Chaquenya

     /  May 6, 2013

    This is a great approach taken by KAVI. Usually when it comes to the violent youth, the immediate attitude is that they just need to not be in gangs. I think the level of understanding and the necessary approach taken will be highly effective in the long run. I also believe that Brooklyn is a great location for such a project.

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