Art intervention to reduce crime and violence among at risk youths

Granny Africa
African art using African fabric by Garfield Morgan the Artist (photo: courtesy of Christopher Charles)

At-risk youth engaged in the European Union (EU)-funded BRIDGE Project are being exposed to art as a channel to prevent violence. The Project is intended to prevent youth crime and violence by targeting at-risk youngsters, aged 15 to 29, in specific communities. Executive Director of the MultiCare Youth Foundation, the non-governmental organisation (NGO) implementing the project, Alicia Glasgow Gentles, told JIS News that the decision to use art stems from the partnership forged with Crime Stop Jamaica. “The partnership with Crime Stop was primarily because we are aligned, in terms of our roles to create youth engagement that will help to reduce crime and violence. For us, we wanted to ensure that the youth were the ones creating the messages about the need for change in terms of crime and violence,” Mrs. Glasgow Gentles said. Consequently, she said the partners opted for art as the preferred platform for creating messages of change and hope.

The youngsters have been exposed to training in the film-production process, courtesy of the creative agency, The LAB. “They were actually tasked with not only just learning the technical skills, but they were tasked with using photography and videography to tell the stories of the ills in their society and what they, on the flip side, want to change”, Glasgow Gentles shared.

She pointed out that youth are, unfortunately, both the primary perpetrators and victims of crime. Glasgow Gentles underscored the importance of engaging these youngsters under the BRIDGE Project and enlightening their roles in reducing crime and violence. “I think, for me, that partnership (with Crime Stop) is about really engaging the youth in making sure they are part of the messaging. We need to end crime and violence, and this is how we intend to highlight what some of the challenges are for us as young people, and what we see as the solutions to create that change”, she pointed out.

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