Empowered Youth is a non-profit organization that works exclusively with inner-city, at-risk young men between the ages of 12 and 19, most of whom have been referred to the program by the Department of Juvenile Justice. Colleen Adams, Founder of Empowered Youth, Jesus Mendoza, and Junior Izaguirre joined Shelly to talk about the programs and services Empowered Youth offers to the community of South Florida.
Lien Tran, Assistant Professor of Interactive Media at the University of Miami spoke to Shelly about developing and designing games for social change. She talked specifically about three of her games: Cops and Rubbers–an interactive board game that demonstrates the real consequences of policing tactics for sex workers; Toma El Paso (Make A Move)– an interactive board game that deals with immigrant youth who are about to be released from detention and the various paths they could take through our complicated legal system ; and Por Nuestras Calles–an interactive board game that uses real life situations in a child’s life to educate the people of Colombia on the prevalent commercial sexual exploitation of children.
Detective Cabado talked to Shelly about internet crimes against children. Through various social media sites, online predators target children as young as ten years of age. Detective Cabado encourages parents to understand the importance of internet safety and urges children to understand the dangers of posting inappropriate pictures or sending inappropriate messages.
A Guardian ad Litem (“GAL”) is a trained, court-appointed volunteer who serves as the voice for abused, abandoned, and neglected children in dependency court.
The Guardian ad Litem Program is part of a national network of 933 community-based programs that recruit, train and support citizen-volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in courtrooms and communities. GALs, volunteer advocates—empowered directly by the courts—offer judges the critical information they need to ensure that each child’s rights and needs are being attended to while the children are in foster care.
Studies have proven that when a volunteer Guardian ad Litem serves on a child’s case, the child spends less time languishing in foster care and has a greater chance of achieving long-term stability.
Brigadier General William Salamanca, Director of Protection and Special Services (DIPRO) for the Colombian National Police (CNP), visited the University of Miami School of Communication’s Shoma Hall on April 2 at 1 p.m. to present on the issue of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). His presentation: Prevention, Intervention, and Action: The Colombian National Police and the Security of Children highlighted CNP’s existing effort and the organization’s introduction of creative methods to tackle critical societal issues that affect the country’s most vulnerable – its children.
The United Kingdom Child Sex Abuse People’s Tribunal (UKCSAPT) is an initiative that is led by survivors of child sexual abuse and their supporters, who seek to eradicate the problem of institutional child sexual abuse in the United Kingdom. Regina Paulose, Chair of the Steering Committee for the UKCSAPT, discusses the gravity of the situation, emphasizing the importance of a community of people working together to bring justice to those who’ve been hurt and silenced.
75% of the children in foster care are behind at least one grade level. They are also twice as likely as their peers to drop out before completing their education. Joining Shelly is Noah Youngstrom from Educate Tomorrow. This non-profit organization was founded to facilitate the educational advancement of disadvantaged youth—advocating for foster youth’s independence through college education.
The Miami-Dade Police Department, Special Victims Bureau/Domestic Crimes Section established Project DoVE (Domestic Violence Education) in 2006. Project DoVE conducts community awareness events throughout Dade County mainly in areas that have been identified as highly concentrated domestic violence incidents locations. A Domestic Crimes Section Team comprised of a detective and a Victim Services Coordinator, provide information and referral services to the community. The Team provides general information regarding domestic violence, explains criminal justice system procedures, information on obtaining an injunction for protection and provides information on shelter and safety planning.
Our Miami Report summarizes the findings of an intensive research project focused on Miami’s complex issues. By identifying areas in need of further development, Our Miami Report creates common goals for community improvement. The Report identified eight key quality of life issues affecting Miamians: transportation, housing, arts and culture, health and safety, civic engagement, economy, environment and public space, and education.