Program Overview

Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets (YO S.O.S.) is a youth development program that aims to empower young people to become community leaders and organizers around issues of violence. 

YO S.O.S. participants join an exciting anti-gun violence movement within Crown Heights called Save Our Streets (S.O.S.), bringing the ever-vital youth voice to this pressing community issue. Through a combination of experiential workshops and community organizing opportunities over the course of one year, YO S.O.S. participants develop the skills needed for tomorrow’s leaders, such as public speaking, networking, event planning and real world work experience. Participants who successfully complete the academic-year program components will receive a stipend and will be assisted with paid summer employment and internship opportunities.

YO S.O.S. at the "Not In My Hood" March and Service Fair. 2011

Experiential Workshops:
YO S.O.S. offers a variety of after-school and summer workshops and trainings for its youth organizers, geared towards helping participants make positive life choices. Workshops cover topics such as community organizing, conflict resolution, leadership training, and professional development. In addition to the core content of the workshops, this aspect of the program is designed to develop skills such as teamwork, healthy communication, and peer mediation.

Community Organizing 101 training with Tenants' rights organizer, Victor Monterrosa, Jr.

Community Organizing:
YO S.O.S. youth organizers work together to design and implement service learning public education campaigns to bring awareness to the culture of gun violence in the community. The youth organizers will learn about research, organizing, marketing methods, and hold discussions with youth and adult community stakeholders. The youth organizers are empowered to use methods that would best allow them to target their anti-gun violence campaign to their peers. The youth organizers will also participate in community anti-violence projects, outings and related service projects.

Youth Organizers meeting with Save Our Streets (S.O.S.) Outreach worker, Derick Scott,
and S.O.S Violence Interrupter, Kenneth Edwards

“I think more programs like YO S.O.S. should expand through the city. People in the community are willing to help to make a difference, but they need support.  YO S.O.S. creates an opportunity for people to spread the message of anti-violence and make an impact in their community. Together, we can make a change."
-Elliott Juarez, YO S.O.S. High School intern
College and Career Readiness:
YO S.O.S. participants are exposed to educational and work opportunities throughout the program year. Participants go on college tours, hear from speakers about various career paths, and collaborate with staff to identify their own strengths, interests, and future goals. Toward the end of the program year, staff work with Youth Organizers to place them in a paid summer employment position or internship. This includes resume building, interviewing skills, and professionalism in the workplace. 
At the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Action in Red Hook with many youth programs from Brooklyn.
We celebrated "a day ON not a day OFF."
Summer Job Placement:
YO S.O.S. staff work with each youth organizer to place them in a paid summer employment position. To prepare for this experience, participants develop a resume, practice interviewing skills, and help to identify possible places of employment. Staff provides on-going support throughout the summer to both participants and their employers to ensure that the placement is a positive and productive experience for all.

Why Join YO S.O.S.?

Ü  Make a change in your community
Ü  Gain work experience
Ü  Help stop the violence
Ü  Earn a stipend
Ü  Become a leader

YO S.O.S. is a program of the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center. The Crown Heights Community Mediation Center, located at 256 Kingston Ave., is an innovative effort to improve intergroup relations, encourage positive youth development, and promote non-violent conflict resolution.