The Milwaukee Violence Free Zone (MVFZ) is a collaboration between the Center For Neighborhood Enterprise (CNE), The Latino Community Center (LCC), The Running Rebels Community Organization (RRCO) and Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS).

The purpose of the project is to join with MPS teachers, safety workers and administrative staff to improve the overall safety and learning atmosphere within each VFZ school site.

Violence Free Zone

The goal of the Milwaukee Violence Free Zone Program is to work closely with at least 150 chronically disruptive youth at each of the assigned schools to reduce violent incidents, reduce suspensions, reduce truancy, increase attendance (school and class), increase grade point averages (GPA), and positively change each school’s overall environment.

The VFZ program is not court-ordered and students only have to be enrolled at one of the assigned VFZ schools to be eligible for services. Currently, there are 6 VFZ schools in Milwaukee. The Running Rebels Community Organization (RRCO) operates within Hamilton High School, S.C.T.E., Washington High School, Vincent High School, Roosevelt Middle School, and Lincoln School of the Arts. The VFZ team at each school site is comprised of six youth advisors and one site supervisor.

The VFZ youth advisors work within these schools to build relationships with the at-risk youth and chronic disrupters. These youth advisors are mature young adults who are from the same neighborhoods as students in the schools. These youth advisors are able to gain the trust and respect of the students they work with because they have faced and overcame similar challenges as the youth. They serve as mentors, conflict resolvers, and positive role models in and outside of school.

The VFZ staff provides: mentoring, one-on-one academic support, mediations, after school programming and support to school staff. Mentoring services are provided to address the deficiencies in attendance, low academic achievement, violent incidents and suspensions among the target group. Through mentoring and relationship building, the youth advisors are able to provide students with encouragement and connection to the school which helps reduce some of the barriers that prevent the students from coming to school.

One-on-One academic support is provided to the students to help increase GPA’s. Mediations are also conducted to assist the students with resolving issues peacefully. Through mediations VFZ staff is able to give students conflict and resolutions strategies which prevents them from getting into fights that would lead to a school suspension. The following are some of the after school services that the Milwaukee Violence Free Program-RRCO currently provides: male and female discussion groups, homework help, POWER (book club), exposure to college fairs and fieldtrips etc…

The goal of the VFZ is to work connect trained youth advisors with students identified as needing support into reducing behavioral incidents, increasing attendance, improving grade point averages and connect youth to positive community assets. VFZ not only works with those students referred as chronic disruptors, but also collaborates with Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) staff to improve the overall safety and learning atmosphere of the school. During the school year, the following are some of the after school services that are provided by VFZ youth advisors:
– One-on-One Mentoring
– Homework help
– Mediation
– Peer groups
– Leadership development
– Community service
– Basketball league
– Prom Project
– College readiness program
– Poetry Club
– African dance class/drumming

VFZ youth from Washington High School participated in the 2012 Black Heritage Bowl presented by the Northside YMCA (1350 W North Avenue). The competition took place on Saturday, February 25, 2012. The Washington team did a great job, they scored a total of 1700 points which was one of the highest scores in round one. It was apparent that the girls took a lot of time out to study for this competition, again great job to James Sokolowski and Sheila Morgan for taking time from their full schedule to help the girls study and prepare for the competition.