ATLANTA (August 2, 2017) – Nearly 600 people gathered to commemorate the grand opening and ribbon cutting of the At-Promise Center located in the historic English Avenue neighborhood on Atlanta’s westside. As part of an ongoing effort to empower youth and reduce the number of young people introduced to the criminal justice system, the At-Promise Center will create pathways to success for youth in Atlanta.
“Our youth are At-Promise, not at-risk” is the core belief of this initiative and its goal of reducing crime, providing services and assistance that help youth realize his/her full potential, uplifting families, and strengthening the community came to life during this special event.
“This is a pivotal time for Atlanta youth,” said Dave Wilkinson, president & CEO, Atlanta Police Foundation. “Our research shows that 25 of the top 100 juvenile offenders in 2016 were between the ages of 12 and 14 – this is simply unacceptable. Somewhere along the way we’ve failed our young people, but Atlanta is a city of second chances and it is up to the entire community to get involved and support the work of the At-Promise initiative.
This Center brings together youth providers who by mission may have similar focus areas. However, in the Center, each provider leads one of five key specialty areas: education, recreation, social/emotional learning, mental health or workforce development. In its first year, this facility is expected serve youth and young adults ages 12 to 24 who reside on Atlanta’s Westside.
The model for this process is based on three distinct areas:
- Diversion: an alternative to arrest and probation
- Intervention: strategies to address behavior
- Prevention: to promote and foster personal growth and development
Specialized and support services for youth and young adults ages 12 – 24 include, but are not limited to: child, family, and group counseling, GED preparation, tutoring, character and leadership development, career readiness, food assistance along with health and wellness.
Under the leadership of the Atlanta Police Foundation and the Atlanta Police Department, the Center is a collaboration between Atlanta organizations committed to addressing the growing concern of juvenile crime: CHRIS 180, Urban League of Greater Atlanta, Street Smart Youth Project, and Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta. The efforts of these organizations are further enhanced by Atlanta’s corporate and philanthropic community in partnership with the Atlanta Hawks Foundation, Brasfield & Gorrie, Carter, Chick-fil-A Foundation, Chris M. Carlos, City of Atlanta, Coca-Cola Foundation, English Avenue Neighborhood Association, GE, Georgia Power, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and the Westside Future Fund.
“I am blown away by the incredible transformation the At-Promise Center has gone through,” said Russell Stokes, president & CEO, GE Power. “During my first tour we walked over glass and trash, and now to see the Center where it is today is amazing. The quote by Thomas Edison, which is painted on the GE Learning Lab wall, really sums it all up – ‘Your worth consists in what you are and not in what you have’. It’s great to see how our community is focusing on how our youth are At-Promise, not At-Risk.”
Long-term expected outcomes for the Center include enhanced police/youth relationships, a decrease in youth arrests and an increase in youth employment. To learn more about the At-Promise Initiative or the At-Promise Center, please visit www.atlantapolicefoundation.org.