Gun Violence Prevention Teen Programs

New Settlement Gun Violence Prevention Initiative 

As New York City rises from the Covid-19 pandemic, a recent surge in gun violence has swept through communities across the City—but nowhere has the violence been more prevalent than in The Bronx. Gun violence in the Bronx was 31% more prevalent in January 2022 than the same time frame a year ago. “Gun violence is a public health crisis that continues to threaten every corner of our city,” said recently-elected Mayor Eric Adams.  “Truly ending this crisis will require both intervention and prevention. Over the longer term, it will require a transformation of our city: growing economic opportunities, improving the education of every child, providing more access to mental health support, and so much more.”  

The root causes of the sudden rise of gun violence in The Bronx are many, and complex. “You look at the food insecurity, and the housing insecurity,” New Settlement Executive Director said recently when interviewed on CBS news about increasing gun violence in The Bronx. “We just had the eviction moratorium expire on January 15th.  You have double digits, close to one in ten people not working. All of those contributing factors really need to be addressed.” Rigaud added that increased police presence only solves one part of the problem.  “You can have a police officer on every corner, but that doesn’t address someone’s opportunity to commit a crime, and also why they’re committing a crime.” 

The increase in gun violence in The Bronx is a complex problem that demands holistic prevention strategies. With financial support from New York State’s Anti-Violence Initiative, Governor Kathy Hochul, Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner and New Settlement Board Member Jean Cleary, New Settlement has become the lead agency in a Bronx-wide effort to engage our youth in constructive and positive out-of-school time programming that prepare them to seek positive life alternatives, diffuse tensions and contribute to peaceful alternatives to crime and violence. New Settlement is working with two partner organizations, Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club of Castle Hill and the new Northeast Bronx YMCA, to increase community-based services that support the reduction of gun violence by increasing opportunities for youth in our neighborhoods. Together, the program is directly impacting more than 600 Bronx families and reach youth and families in all 17 high-need zip codes identified by this initiative.   


Gun Violence Prevention Teen Programs 

New Settlement has expanded our community-based services and programs serving school-aged youth, young adults and families. In the New Settlement program, we will build on our core community health and wellness, arts and education enrichment services at our community center and bring in new program components to inspire our young people to pursue employment through workforce readiness, build leadership skills, and speak out against gun violence.  

New Settlement’s effort to address provide positive community-based services in our community and surrounding Bronx communities begins at the New Settlement Community Campus. Services provided through the New Settlement Community Center provide a one-stop network of programs and supports for children, youth and adults from throughout the Bronx each year. The Community Center is the ideal setting to recruit and engage teenagers and young adults for anti-violence efforts that impact the Bronx because while it is centrally located and attracts residents from all over the Bronx, including many from zip codes identified as highest-risk of gun violence.    

In 2022 we have expanded community-based programs that will inspire 300 young people ages 12-20 from our surrounding community to engage in positive activities, build employment readiness and leadership skills, and speak out to prevent violence in high-risk communities surrounding the center. Evening-hour classes and programming that provide a safe and constructive alternative to the streets. New York State Gun Violence Prevention Initiative funding is supporting expanded youth programming including: 


  • Young Men Establishing the Narrative: A new evening program at the New Settlement Community Center with tools and resources to enhance our young people’s skills and talents, in hopes of creating a pathway of success. The YMEN’s program will infuse life skills, current events, arts, and culture with a focus on leadership development, employment readiness, team building, critical thinking, and college and career readiness. It will feature Advisory Time – one on one counseling with a focus on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) competencies. The program will also offer Job Readiness, and Academic Support. We will offer college visits and weekend leadership retreats.  


  • Program for Girls and Young Women will offer a gender specific program to strengthen the resilience and aspirations of girls and young women. ​With this funding we will expand and strengthen the Program for Girls and Young Women, increasing program enrollment and building a more formal youth development model focusing on girls and prioritizing sexual/emotional health, college and career guidance, leadership development, dance and written word programming, adventure learning and fitness.  


  • Youth Leadership-Ambassadors: The program will focus on Leadership Development, helping young men identify the fundamental values of being a leader through critical thinking, creative expression, goal setting, team building, academic success, and social responsibility. Our program will focus on leading, helping and supporting peers and younger children to be aware of, address and prevention gun violence in their community. Youth from  YMEN’s and the Program for Girls and Young Women will prepare street outreach at community fairs and events and speak to younger school and after-school groups on violence reduction in surrounding high-risk communities.  


Youth from YMEN and the Program for Girls and Young Women will benefit from our aquatics center (swimming lessons, competitive swim team, lifeguard training); sports and fitness (basketball, yoga, running, Capoeira, indoor soccer, and mixed martial arts); dance and movement, food and nutrition and workforce readiness programming.   



Jimi Orekoya