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Preventing Youth Violence

Bob Gilbertson is being honored as a White House Champion of Change for his leadership and commitment to the ideals of the YMCA.

Bob Gilbertson is being honored as a White House Champion of Change for his leadership and commitment to the ideals of the YMCA.

Bob Gilbertson

The Seattle Y Youth Violence Initiative was initially launched in 2011, in partnership with the City of Seattle, the YMCA of a Greater Seattle’s Alive and Free Street Outreach Program, A Better Seattle, law enforcement and other local community providers.

The Youth Violence Initiative is designed to create a culture of safety and hope for at-risk youth. This collaboration between street outreach workers (from the Y’s Alive and Free Program), philanthropists, corporations, law enforcement and community groups is focused on strategies to reduce youth violence and build healthy communities in Seattle and surrounding areas.  Because of the successful outcomes of the Seattle Initiative, efforts to replicate the model have begun in five other municipalities in the surrounding area, including Renton, Auburn, Tukwila, Kent and SeaTac, where mayors and police chiefs have all committed to help eradicate youth violence in their cities.  The Youth Violence Initiative also has been able to demonstrate a unique model of funding by maximizing blended revenue sources from the local cities, the state, and federal government, as well as the local philanthropic community.  A key partner in the Youth Violence Initiative is a Better Seattle, founded by Seattle Seahawks coach, Pete Carroll.  A Better Seattle provides support and community linkage to the Youth Violence Initiative.

The Y’s street outreach workers connect high risk kids, who have been affected by violence and/or gang activity, to positive support systems and relevant services that help them set and reach positive goals. 

The Y’s Alive & Free Street Outreach is actively reducing retaliatory violence and recidivism rates in juvenile offenders.  The Y is deeply grateful to all of our partners, including Pete Carroll and the Seahawks for their inspiration and leadership.  We are honored to receive acknowledgement as Champions of Change.

Bob Gilbertson is the President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Seattle.