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Institute for Violence Reduction receives grant (Released: 9/27/95)

by Renh Sehgal, Office of University Communications.

STORRS, Conn. -- The Institute for Violence Reduction at the University of Connecticut's School of Social Work has received a $150,000 grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving to implement its method of establishing and maintaining peace between gangs in the city.

The project will enable I. Michael Borrero, director of the institute, to expand his method of mediation and accountability. He has used this model to establish working relationships with 20 Love and Los Solidos members. There has not been a killing between these gangs since December 1994.

''This is significant, given the number of gang-related deaths in the past few years,'' Borrero said.

Under the project's first phase, the institute will bring gang leaders together in neutral territory weekly, monitor progress and mediate disputes. In the second phase, the most responsible gang members and former gang members will be hired as family coordinators to diffuse potentially violent conflicts and to identify members in need of help.

The third phase, which has not been tested, would bring gang leaders to the table with community leaders. Borrero said he hopes to establish a Community Development Council, which would bring leaders and youths together.

''We strongly believe that when we start seeing these young people as a viable resource toward the peace process and involve them in reducing violence, we are really making an indentation in youth violence in the state,'' Borrero said.

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