CYO Mediates Violent Conflict through Oakland Street Outreach
California Youth Outreach (CYO), supported by Oakland Unite, provides services to high risk youth and young adults in Central and East Oakland. Through street outreach in targeted hot spots, trained CYO staff members get to know young people and are able to offer them case management services and conflict mediation to prevent the escalation of potentially violent situations.
Here’s just one of the many stories where CYO staff have intervened in a crisis situation: A young man had family members move into his home who attracted tension between them and rival gang members. The young man was shot near his home – he survived, but he was fearful for his life because there were ongoing threats to him and his relatives. One cousin was afraid to go to school because members were threatening him at school and on the way to school.
The street outreach team went into the area with members of the staff who had experience with working with both gangs. These staff members had developed rapport with gang-involved youth in the area that allowed them reach those involved in the incident and, through these relationships, to help diffuse the conflict and reduce the chance of further violence. Despite the fact that these gangs had been rivals for generations, CYO staff members were able to lower tensions enough that the younger cousin was able to start going to school again and not worry about his safety.