ON-Lion Letter

"James Faulkner greets students at Lincoln Center of the Arts in Milwaukee with a smile and a friendly 'Hey, how you doing?' or 'I'm glad you're here," begins a June article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"A lot of kids don't get that because they just wake up and leave the house," Faulkner told the Journal Sentinel's Ashley Luthern.

"Faulkner is lead youth adviser for the middle school's Violence Free Zone.  The program, known as VFZ, promotes peace and reduces conflict by connecting students to mentors," according to Luthern.  Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation substantially supports VFZ in the city.

"Each adviser has a caseload of 10 to 25 students who volunteer to participate in the program or are connected by school staff," Luthern continues.

"The VFZ is directed by the national Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, and the program is run by two local organizations, Running Rebels and Milwaukee Christian Center, in 11 public schools in Milwaukee," she writes.

"A recently released study from Baylor University points to encouraging results from the program," the article reports.  "Among VFZ students in three middle schools and eight high schools, researchers recorded a 31% drop in the average number of violent incidents per VFZ student per month during the academic year 2013-'14.

"A longer-range study of the VFZ program at Milwaukee's School of Career and Technical Education from 2007 to 2010 found lower average number of suspension days per VFZ student per month; a 44% drop in the average number of behavioral incidents per VFZ student per month; and a 24% higher graduation rate than non-VFZ students.

"The key, Faulkner says, is to intervene before a problem -- such as rumors or gossip on Facebook -- escalates to a classroom distraction or physical confrontation."

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |