Hartford Care Response Team

It's 2:20 am on Friday morning. The phone rings waking up the HCRT Interventionists. Being on call 24/7 means they are up and moving, leaving the safety of their homes and families to make their way to the hospital where the team will provide services to another family and community who have just been impacted by gun violence. It's a scene that's repeated over and over again. This year, the HCRT has served 184 victims and their families visiting hospitals and crime scenes over 60 times*
Calendar year 2021 was one of the deadliest on record for the city of Hartford. As of this writing, there have been 35 homicides, a 34% increase over 2020.

This year, two new Interventionists and a new Case Manager were added to the team. These additions have added tremendous value and signify beginning the process of building the bench that we hope will continue into 2022.
Members of the HCRT represented frontline workers on several national committees at the HAVI helping to inform and guide emerging best practices. These committees focus on equity for frontline workers, policing policies to protect victims in the hospital, and a racial equity task force.

The Hartford Care Response Team is continuing to provide support to those affected by violence through outreach, case management and connection to wrap-around services.

Greater Hartford Youth Leadership Academy

GHYLA has been focusing their efforts on a new initiative called Each One Reach One. Each One Reach One is a project that focuses on the future beyond high school. Offering students other alternatives post graduation other than college such as becoming an entrepreneur or taking on a trade/certification. The goal is to offer mentorship and resources through one-on-one check-ins and monthly meetings with the group. Each One Reach One wants to let students know just because they have graduated doesn't mean the connections and resources available have to stop.

New enrollment of Raising Youth Voices began on Saturday September 25th, 2021. There are 11 new youth who have been recruited through referrals and the summer youth program here in Hartford, they join five core members for a total class of 16. During the new enrollment period, GHYLA aims for the new members to get acquainted, host leadership activities, self-identity exercises and be educated on the CADCA model. The CADCA model is used in Raising Youth Voices to help members research an issue and find solutions by discovering the root causes, local conditions, strategies and intervention. Youth members will be broken up into groups to discuss the following topics; gun violence, education, and child injuries and fatalities. Even though the youth will be doing research on their respective topics, GHYLA wants all members to know and be familiar with the other topics so they can have the knowledge and the ability to present it to others.

The Greater Hartford Youth Leadership Academy was excited to be the recipient of the West End Civic Association (WECA) 100 Neighbors who Care Campaign! Sarah Martz, a representative from WECA came to our last session in October to present the generous donation in person. The GYHYLA members will attend the January meeting of the West End Civic Association to introduce our program. These funds will be used to support the work and activities of our young people as they live on the mission of being community problem solvers! In addition to the WECA grant, the GHYLA were chosen for Town Fair Tire's annual community donation giveaway and a 2021 Grant Recipient for The Prosperity Foundation. The celebration ceremony for the prosperity foundation took place virtually on Wednesday, December 15, 2021, with 57 other organizations who were honored throughout the state of CT making great impacts in their communities.

The Greater Hartford Youth Leadership Academy participated in the Finding Peace 2021 event at the Wilson Gray YMCA in October. Youth leaders and adults had a panel discussion to help develop a strategic approach to addressing youth violence in the north end of Hartford. Also, on November 17th GHYLA joined the CT Gun Violence Prevention and Advisory for a virtual meeting to hear testimonials and discuss recommendations on how to reduce gun violence.

Be on the lookout for more information about the Annual Youth Summit in April 2022.

Inaugural Brother Carl Hardrick Institute Training

In December at the Wilson Gray YMCA, 37 individuals from Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven participated in the inaugural training session of the Brother Carl Hardrick Institute for Violence Prevention. A partnership between the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford and the Community Safety Coalition. This training session was guided by a Board of Advisors alongside other community partners and stakeholders. The Brother Carl Hardrick Institute for Violence Prevention focuses on evidence-based strategies for the prevention of gun and community violence that expands the number of violence intervention specialists and youth development, practitioners.

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The inaugural training was designed specifically to identify and strengthen the skill set, knowledge base and network for those working as professionals in the field of violence intervention (VPPs) and featured speakers with both local and national profiles. The subjects discussed ranged from recognizing the signs of trauma in victims and their families to the importance of self-care for VPPs themselves.

 

A word from the Executive Director Fall/Winter 2021

Moving into the fall and winter, I find myself transitioning into additional roles. I have been appointed as the Chairman of the newly formed Gun Violence Intervention & Prevention Advisory Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly, as well as being appointed the Inaugural Co-Chair of the UConn.

Health Disparities Institute Boys and Men of Color Multi-Sector Alliance. Both councils aim to address the social determinants of health of those most at risk for violence. These appointments, as well as the ongoing work of the CT HVIP and other efforts at HCTC, are meaningful and impactful steps forward to addressing the increasing rates of gun injury in our community. Particularly among our young men of color.

The work we do takes a toll on our providers. There is constant exposure to gun violence which is traumatizing to our team members directly, but also vicariously as we support families through their own experiences. Hartford Communities that Care prioritizes self-care for our staff and leadership. From the Crisis Response Team to the Case Managers and others, we need our staff to take care of themselves before they are able to take care of others. One of the ways we do this is to utilize our community partners like Trinity Health. Providers from Trinity have come to HCTC’s office to provide meditation sessions that incorporated acupuncture. These group therapy sessions have been well received by the staff and more are planned going forward as we continue to focus on the wellness and mental health of our team.

As the seasons change, our work is always transitioning as well. Our Community Health Worker program here at HCTC launched back in November of 2020 amid the pandemic came to an end in August 2021. During this ten-month period, our top priority was to educate the Hartford Community on COVID-19, connect residents to resources such as food and rent assistance, as well as offer options for COVID-19 testing and vaccination. We can proudly say all those goals have been accomplished. At HCTC, we continue to follow the COVID-19 guidelines as the spread of the Coronavirus is still prevalent.

We are also excited to be a partner in the newly launched Brother Carl Hardrick Institute. The Brother Carl Hardrick Institute for Violence Prevention will focus on evidence-based strategies for the prevention of gun and community violence as well as expand the number of violence intervention specialists and youth development practitioners. The inaugural training class completed their session in December at the Wilson Gray YMCA where the Institute is housed. Members of the Hartford Communities that Care staff were among this first class. Members of the HCTC staff will continue to provide staff and technical assistance to support the Institute.
I look forward to continuing to share updates with you as Hartford Communities that Care moves forward into 2022!

Gun Violence Intervention and Prevention Advisory Committee

This past session, the Connecticut State Legislature passed a bill establishing the Gun Violence Intervention and Prevention Advisory Committee. This committee is made up of representatives of evidence-based gun violence prevention efforts including community-based organizations (CBO) such as Hartford Communities that Care, as well as hospitals, advocacy agencies, and other stakeholders. Hartford Communities that Care Executive Director, Andrew Woods has been named Chairman.

The charge of this committee, among other objectives, was to compile and submit a report detailing recommendations that the legislature can adopt to reduce rates of community gun violence. On December 30, 2021, the Committee concluded its work and was dissolved. The recommendations detailed in the full report, suggest many necessary steps for implementing a statewide commitment to gun violence prevention.
You can read the full report on our website

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