Don't Die Young is a youth violence prevention promotion project developed to communicate information and inspiration to youth, community based organizations and the general community. Our focus is on advocacy by addressing the myriad of issues that play a role in impacting the lives of black and brown boys and young men (youth) between the ages of 13-25 who are most at-risk of being impacted by violence. Our objectives are to:
1. Increase public awareness about the social and systemic barriers that disproportionately impact African-American and Hispanic male youth.
2. Engage youth with information and inspiration designed to instill hope.
3. Serve as a brand for youth violence prevention efforts by engaging and partnering with public and private agencies providing services.
In place of promoting stand alone "stop the violence" messages, Don't Die Young believes that the focus needs to be on youth development and encouraging youth towards their life's purpose.
Don't Die Young integrates the following programmatic elements to serve male youth most impacted by violence:
1. Public Awareness Campaign. Developing and promoting information designed to educate and inspire youth, community based organizations and the general community.
2. Capacity Building. Engaging and partnering with public and private organizations serving youth and families to disseminate information around best-practices. Capacity Building services will be offered in the form of trainings - webinars, workshops, conferences, etc. - Coming Soon!
3. Information Exchange Center. Center where youth, community based organizations and community members can access information on local and national resources available to assist youth and families. The Information Exchange Center can be accessed via phone, chat, email and social media. - Coming Soon!
Don't Die Young launched in Spring 2020 and is currently implementing the Public Awareness Campaign and establishing partnerships with community based organizations in Baltimore. Our goal is to begin implementing the remaining programmatic elements by Spring 2022.
Why Don't Die Young?
Simply put, youth dying before they have a chance to truly live their lives is unnatural! Aside from a medical challenge that may compromise the health of a young person, the expectation is that our kids will live a long life full of memories and love. Unfortunately, the blood of youth across the nation continues to flow in the streets as a result of violence. Not only are our young people dying a physical death, but they are first consumed with stress and discouragement that leads to an emotional and spiritual death that sets the stage for living an at-risk lifestyle that results in a physical death.
With the continual challenges facing youth that result in youth violence around the country, it is time to identify and genuinely address the environmental conditions that lead to so many young people dying spiritually, emotionally and physically. Young people today have an amazing selection of negative influences that work to formulate their ideas and values of life. Never before in our society has violence been so accepted which is evidenced in part by the prevalence of violence in movies, television, music and video games. These influences combined with poor education, poverty and hopelessness have been the recipe for the devastating loss of young lives nationwide. So the questions that must be asked includes:
* What happens to young spirits bombarded with messages of violence?
* What happens when the attainment of the American Dream is presented through violence?
* What happens when our young people are being left behind in a marketplace that educationally
requires more from them than ever before?
Unfortunately, what happens is heart-breaking violence where young lives, dreams, and families are destroyed. The issues facing youth today have everything to do with the state of their souls that struggle with the anger and depression within the family and/or community day in and day out. To change the downward spiral in the lives of youth identified as at-risk, it is critically important that they receive comprehensive youth development and family services while encouraging their souls.
From an early age, young boys intuitively understand the expectations of being a man in this society. Far too many of our young men are submitting to negative temptations filled with perceived value that defines their manhood. There are of course numerous social factors that contribute to these challenges including family matters and poor education as examples. Don’t Die Young takes a high level view of youth violence by focusing on youth development. Our position is that if we can support the holistic development of youth, we will see more positive outcomes in the lives of vulnerable and under-served youth. Taking a holistic approach to resolving the issues facing our youth must include not only youth services, but also family services that account for the health of the entire family.
DON'T DIE YOUNG
To serve as a brand that mobilizes, informs and encourages stakeholders engaged in the wellness of youth.
Don't Die Young will creatively deliver encouraging, compelling and relevant information to youth via mediums that facilitate engagement.
Don't Die Young will deliver
public awareness strategies focused on disseminating
uplifting information about
youth, community based organizations and the
Don’t Die Young initiative.
Don't Die Young will promote collaboration among community based organizations that serve youth and their families by providing initiative-wide
marketing support and advocacy efforts in the interest of youth development.