YouthBuild To Offer Gun Violence Intervention To Their Program

Contact: Nicholle Granger

August 9, 2022 Newport News, VA

Currently VOACC's YouthBuild program, in cooperation with the city of Newport News, VA. and The Department of Labor helps young people acquire the skills they need to obtain a great job and keep it.

YouthBuild participants earn money while they get valuable hands-on experience building quality houses. They gain work-based education including vocational and basic academic skills training that leads to industry-recognized credentials, employment placement, or apprenticeships, and prepare them for post-secondary education programs. The program lasts six months with follow-up supportive services for the period of one year.

On August 9th, the City of Newport News in an attempt to address gun violence, funded 19 community-based organizations a total investment of $1,786,551 to being to make a change in their community.

"We are investing in strategies that interrupt the cycle of violence amongst individuals at the highest risk for perpetrating or being a victim of gun violence. Through the Gun Violence Intervention Program, we are supporting innovative and technology-based prevention, intervention, enforcement, and re-entry strategies. The community-based programs we are helping launch and expand bring nonprofit organizations, businesses, groups, residents, law enforcement agencies, and countless others together to create transformational and sustainable change.”

– McKinley L. Price, Newport News Mayor

Calling our program Peacemakers, our YouthBuild program was awarded over $79,000 which will allow YouthBuild to add gun violence intervention to our current curriculum. The program is open to all individuals between the ages of 13 - 24 who are currently in or have been in a correctional facility. Our staff will work with the individual’s Probation Officer in offering services that include, but not limited to, case management, supportive services, individualized action plans, and connections to community services & resources.

"We must do our best to be a conduit of hope, trust, and resolve for our Youth. The success of tomorrow starts with the activities of today. We can have the option of hope, effort, with the possibility of failure or not hope, provide no effort, and achieve failure"

– Dan Carrera, YouthBuild Program Director

VOACC’s Newport News YouthBuild and its new Peacekeepers program will emphasize increased communication, coordination, and collaboration amongst city departments, community-based organizations, businesses, and other key stakeholders. Peacekeepers will utilize this collaborative effort to enhance our reach, effectiveness and sustainability with one main focus: The prevention and intervention of youth gun violence.

“Through our linkages our aim is to assist youth in gaining access to the following but not limited services such as, mental health services, career, trade services, education services, mentorship, life skills and financial literacy skills.” according to Deja Horsley, Peacekeepers’ program director

Youth will also have access to counseling and other behavioral health support to help them overcome trauma and address other personal challenges they may have. VOACC will be leading the way with our current behavioral health support services, as well as a partnership with Creating Scholars Through Therapy, a local outpatient counseling agency.

Individuals interested in Peacekeepers, who also meet the eligibility for the YouthBuild program, can do both, although it is not a requirement. It is also not a requirement for current or future YouthBuild students to have to enroll in Peacekeepers.

To learn more about both the Peacekeepers and YouthBuild programs, click the buttons below.

About Volunteers of America Chesapeake & Carolinas

Volunteers of America Chesapeake & Carolinas, Inc. (VOACC) is a faith-based, nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower self-reliance and inspire hope. As a church without walls, we do this through personalized housing, ministry, health, and human services that benefit vulnerable individuals, their families and the community.

VOACC has more than 49 programs throughout Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia and the Carolinas that provide homeless services, supportive housing, behavioral health, substance use recovery, intellectual/developmental disability services, veteran services, community re-entry and workforce development.

VOACC leverages over 800 staff members and more than 2,000 volunteers to support more than 10,400 individuals and families every year. For more information on VOACC, please visit

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