Yo Bro Yo Girl Youth Initiative is a gang intervention program that started out in 2009 with about 30 gang-affiliated youth in one community. Since then, it has grown to serve more than 500 youth weekly with high impact programs that create outstanding results.
Yo Bro Yo Girl offers targeted programs and services in three high-need communities across the Lower Mainland. They also provide one-to-one intervention for youth who have come in contact with the criminal justice system to prevent and/or provide alternatives to detention and to assist with successful re-entry into home and school communities.
The initiative has focused its efforts on the Lower Mainland’s most vulnerable neighborhoods, in order to change the reality of too many young lives lost. They accomplish their mission through violence prevention and intervention, drug prevention, youth development, and collaborative partnerships with schools, law enforcement agencies, and the criminal justice system. Their signature program is Respectful Relationships for young women and men ages eleven to nineteen.
The 10-session program was developed in response to the need for schools to address the issue of relationship-based violence. The program was first offered to male and female youth attending local high schools and alternate education programs in Vancouver in 2016. Participants in the program:
- Raised their awareness and understanding of the culture of violence and how it applies to them.
- Developed an understanding of the similarities and differences between stranger, acquaintance, and relationship violence.
- Developed healthy and respectful relationship skills
- Developed a personal safety plan.
- Learned hands-on personal safety and self-defense techniques.
All the sessions were delivered by trained Yo Bro Yo Girl program facilitators and supported by school staff. A Yo Bro Yo Girl staff member was available to support every program.
Yo Bro Yo Girl received a grant from the Vancouver Police Foundation to pilot five Respectful Relationships Programs in Vancouver schools beginning in July 2016 and continuing through to September 2017. At present, three programs are operating at schools and learning centers in Vancouver. This January, in addition to starting up a second program at these existing schools, four more schools joined the program.
Funds from the Foundation were used for all aspects of program delivery, including the purchase of personal safety training equipment and curriculum development and distribution. Funds were also used to provide nutritious snacks, transit passes/tickets and a Yo Bro Yo Girl t-shirt.
The Foundation is incredibly proud of this initiative and the positive impact it has on our youth.