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Cure Violence Training Held At Penn Highlands

Posted November 25, 2019 at 11:46 am

You may see them walking the streets of Hornerstown or Moxham, talking to young people, and interrupting any potential violent activity. These individuals are the Cure Violence outreach interrupters.

Funded through a grant received by the City of Johnstown, with training facilitated by Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, these interrupters are poised to reduce the crime that is occurring in the Hornerstown and Moxham neighborhoods.

The grassroots group, Hope 4 Johnstown, identified the Chicago-based Cure Violence as a model that could work in Johnstown to address crime and drug problems. This model addresses fighting crime in the same manner that doctors fight medical issues, by interrupting the behavior that contributes to the acts of violence and change the norms within a community.

Marcus McAllister, Cure Violence Global Trainer, was recently at the Penn Highlands Community College Richland Campus training three interrupters and one outreach caseworker. Marcus has been with Cure Violence Global for 16 years. For nine of those years, he has been a trainer for the organization.

“The trainings have been great. This has been a perfect way to share the model that Cure Violence Global utilizes,” stated Marcus McAllister, Cure Violence Global Trainer. “During my time here, we have taken a close look at the history of the area, finding ways to help reduce violence numbers by working to change the atmosphere and culture in the target areas. The individuals I’m training have great relationships and credibility in their neighborhoods, which will help deescalate violence.“

Yvette Madison, Professor of Human Services and Hope 4 Johnstown representative, added that the primary goal is to change the outlook and perspective of the target neighborhoods.

“We want these communities to recognize there are alternatives to violence, and Cure Violence’s model is a tool to help,” Madison said. “The partnership between Penn Highlands, Cure Violence, and Hope 4 Johnstown is one that will help improve the culture for years to come.”

It is anticipated that additional interrupters will be trained during the spring of 2020 as part of the grant’s second year.

While it is too early to know if these interrupters will have an impact, they are connecting with residents in the two neighborhoods and are considered a welcome sight on the streets. They are busy building relationships with young people and serving as role models.

As results are achieved, the Cure Violence model will be extended into neighboring communities. When it comes to violent crime, the goal of the group is simple: “Zero is the standard.”