IFS Anti-Violence and Gun Reduction Program
Since 1971, IFS has been at the forefront of working with youth struggling with educational and behavioral issues caused by poverty and unstable homes. Almost all of the youth population we serve are from single-parent households, are in foster care or residential programs. They are predominately between the ages of 16 and 18 and over 85% reside in Newark.
Unfortunately, when we first meet our young clients they have dealt with abuse or neglect or are at-risk of mental health issues. Typically, they are either at-risk for expulsion or are out of school. These circumstances oftentimes lead to gang affiliation and ultimately involvement in the criminal justice system.
IFS recognizes that each young person has the potential to make positive changes and we believe that given the right opportunity they can overcome their adversities and grow to make more positive changes that inevitably alters the course of their lives.
Life Change Program
The Life Change program works with young people who have been convicted, charged, arrested, or identified as individuals who have committed a crime involving the use of a firearm, are associated with those who have committed these crimes, or are deemed as having the potential of committing these crimes.
The goal of the program is to create the right course of action for each young person by breaking the generational cycle of dependency on government assistance and by teaching them to be self-sufficient so that they can go on to live healthy and productive lives. The path to this goal is complex, but achievable, given the right resources and dedication by adults who care.
We provide the tools and services necessary for each young person to recover from past emotional and psychological trauma stemming from negative environments such as abusive families, underachieving schools or lack of access to productive activities.
The IFS outreach team coordinates services and provides case management and supervision of each young person. A portion of the team’s time is used to connect with the communities and residents where the young person resides, while special time is allocated to working one-on-one with each person to ensure individual growth and success.
In addition, IFS coordinates alternative activities to keep youth focused on life-changing goals such as job training and placement, housing assistance, and participating in sports or recreational activities. In addition, each young person receives referrals for additional resources as needed.
IFS CEO, Margaret L. Woods with COO, Bryan Lee appear on
Good Day NY “Street Talk”with host Antwan Lewis. Ms. Woods
and Mr. Lee discuss the IFS Life Change anti-violence
& gun reduction program, which is helping youth stay out
of gang involvement and onto the path of independence.