Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) are pleased to announce the launch of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services “Credible Messenger” initiative. The Credible Messenger program is part of Mayor Bowser’s Safer, Stronger DC public safety agenda, which includes both law enforcement and prevention initiatives.
Credible messengers are neighborhood leaders, experienced youth advocates and individuals with relevant life experiences whose role is to help youth transform attitudes and behaviors around violence. They serve young people whose needs go far beyond the traditional mentoring approach of companionship, confidence-building and typical academic, social or career guidance. The credible messengers are able to connect with the most challenging young people because the messengers come from the same communities as the youth and are formerly incarcerated or were involved in the justice system, but have turned their lives around.
The Credible Messenger Initiative will be administered by nonprofit organizations based in the Safer, Stronger DC target neighborhoods where most of the DYRS youth and their families live. The awardees of this grant-funded program are: East Of The River Clergy Police Community Partnership Inc.; East River Family Strengthening Collaborative; Good Projects; Inner City Collaborative Community Development Corporation; Sasha Bruce Youthwork, Inc.; and Life Deeds, Inc. DYRS is partnering with The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region (CFNCR) to administer the competitive grants process. The CFNCR organized the application process, provided technical assistance for applicants, and supported evaluation of application process.
“The Credible Messenger Mentoring Initiative represents an investment in the natural leaders of our communities who are best positioned to form trusting and lasting relationships with some of the most challenged youth and families involved in the juvenile justice system,” said DYRS Director Clinton Lacey. “These relationships will serve as both the basis and vehicle for empowering our youth to make positive choices, decisions and connections, all of which will enable them to be whole and productive members of our communities. We are extremely excited about the all of the great opportunities this initiative will create.”