Open Door’s most important goal is to prevent kids from ever joining gangs and therefore has developed successful programs that focus on prevention among elementary-aged children. These programs are tailored for schools, corporations, other non-profit agencies, law enforcement agencies and civic groups. The programs seek to educate as many as possible and are designed to involve all segments of our community in the education of gang-related violence.
Open Door uses a multi-pronged approach to accomplish its goals. Open Door provides awareness, prevention and intervention services to youth, to families and the community. It addresses gang-related issues through the following programs.
Open Door is committed to enhancing the knowledge and skills of professionals working with youth and families. Open Door’s multidisciplinary focus emphasizes the need for all professionals working with youth to have a common understanding of complex issues. Training programs are specifically designed to address specific geographical locations, cultural competencies and professional objectives. Training topics include prevention, intervention, and treatment regarding gangs and other youth sub-cultures, family and youth violence, school failure, trauma/crisis, victimization, as well as community intervention strategies.
ACE -Academic and Character Education Program
Understanding the philosophy that the most effective way to control the growth of gangs in the community is to stop the gang recruitment of potential youth. The ACE Program is designed to reach out to school children ages 5-14 through daily in-school and after-school programs. Among other things, daily programs address three potential risk factors that have been proven to lead to anti-social behavior: (1) poor academic skills; (2) lack of pro-social decision-making and attitudes; and (3) lack of adult supervision during high-risk times of the day. During the normal school year, the ACE Program operates at Wyatt Academy K-8 in cooperation with administrators and staff. The ACE program currently offers each student enrolled in the after school program personal counseling and guidance on a one on one basis. Each mentor provides intensive intervention and structure based on each child’s individual needs. With the support and assistance of the Principal and staff of Wyatt Academy; we are supplied with each students’ test scores (Benchmark Test) at the start and end of the school year. Principal Wes also supplies a monthly behavioral report outlining the student’s emotional and behavioral status. This method is combined with a daily accredited educational based curriculum or group based activity. All information is documented into each student’s individual file that outlines and provides proof of their rapid progress and growth. The program provides structured activities and exposure to experiences outside the usual urban environment such as trips to the Mountains, Denver Zoo, Museum of Nature and Science, Art Museum, local universities, and regional parks. The goal is to provide exposure to cultural activities that will expand thinking about future potential and opportunities for them as they grow.
The Parent Connection includes monthly parent/child support groups and in-home visits. The meetings and visits are intended to assist parents in helping their children to build the skills necessary to prevent participation in gang activities. In addition, group meetings provide an opportunity for parents who are experiencing similar challenges a chance to support, assist one another and solve common problems.
IIR -Intensive Intervention and Redirection Program
The IIR Program mandates the identification of youth that have continually been involved in negative behaviors that have resulted in drastic consequences. These youth are assigned to a Prevention Specialist that work intensively with them and their families in an effort to redirect their anti-social behaviors and attitudes. This is accomplished by the use of effective youth development approaches designed to create more supportive and asset-rich environments that connect these youth to their school communities, engage them in learning, promote their resilience, and reduce their involvement in substance abuse, violence, and other at-risk behaviors.
Youth Outreach Unit
The Youth Outreach Unit acts as the critical link providing support during the difficult times of need, as well as creating a bridge to long-term intervention and support systems. Appropriate crisis intervention to victims and witnesses of violence can be crucial in promoting positive healing and coping skills, as well as diffusing future occurrences of violence.
Responsibilities of the Youth Outreach Unit include:
-Responding to crisis situations
-Monitoring and crowd support at public events
-Follow-up and tracking of youth who have received services
-Assisting with the ACE and IIR Programs
-Group presentations to schools, businesses, and youth facilities