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, and 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 youth 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 youth has the potential to make positive changes and our belief is that given the right opportunity these youth can make positive changes that alter the course of their lives.
Life Change Program
The Life Change program works with youth 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 youth by breaking the generational cycle of dependency on government assistance, teaching them to be self-sufficient, and live productive lives. The rode to this goal is complex, but achievable, given the right resources and dedication by adults who care.
IFS uses best practices providing tools and services for each youth to recover from past emotional and psychological trauma related to living in stigmatizing environments (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 youth. Although a portion of the team’s time is used to connect with the communities and residents where the youth reside, they also work one-on-one with each youth to ensure progress is made with their plans for a better life.
In addition, IFS coordinates alternative activities to keep youth focused on the life-changing goals such as job training and placement, housing assistance, and participating in sports or recreational activities. In addition, each youth 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.