In Brooklyn, S.O.S. works to stop shootings and killings within the neighborhoods of Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant. There are also two sister-sites operating in the South Bronx and the Morissania neighborhood. In Brooklyn, the program focuses on several fronts to disrupt violence: S.O.S. Violence Interrupters mediate conflicts on the street, Outreach Workers work with the people most likely to be involved in shooting incidents to change their thinking and behavior, and Hospital Responders meet with victims of gun violence and their families at the emergency department at Kings County Hospital to prevent retaliation and interrupt the cycle of violence. S.O.S. works closely with neighborhood leaders and businesses to promote a public, community-supported campaign against gun violence. S.O.S. has an ongoing and critical collaboration with local clergy through S.O.S. C.A.N., in which clergy members assist in mobilizing participation in vigils within 72 hours of an incident, provide counseling, and promote a message of non-violence.
In 2012, the Center for Court Innovation published a comprehensive impact and process evaluation of the S.O.S. program, demonstrating that gun violence decreased 6% in the 77th Precinct and increased 20% in comparison precincts. The full report and supporting documents can be downloaded at http://www.courtinnovation.org/sites/default/files/documents/SOS_Evaluation.pdf
YO S.O.S. is the youth mobilization arm of S.O.S. The program aims to empower young people to become peer educators and community organizers around issues of violence, trauma, and conflict mediation. Through a combination of experiential workshops and community organizing opportunities, participants develop fundamental leadership skills including public speaking, group facilitation, networking, resume writing, event planning and campaign implementation. Participants who successfully complete the program receive community service hours, a stipend, and assistance securing summer internships and jobs. YO S.O.S. meets twice weekly throughout the school year and is available to youth ages 14-17.
Make It Happen is a program for young men of color between the ages of 16 and 24 who have been negatively impacted by community violence. It is our goal through Make It Happen to provide supportive services to young men of color who are dealing with trauma, yet are not in a position to acknowledge and process their trauma. Make It Happen is a trauma informed and culturally competent program that provides mentorship, intensive case management, clinical interventions and supportive group workshops.
Staff members are able to assist with and make referrals for mental health and substance abuse treatment, benefit eligibility and applications, tutoring and college applications, emergency food and housing options, affordable housing, job training programs, summer youth programs, and adult education classes. The Center also hosts organizations providing free tax assistance, free health care screenings, and free legal services.