Helping Young Men Build Meaningful Lives in Atlantic City, N.J.

Enhancing educational and job opportunities for youth and reducing violence
    • July 24, 2014

Dates of Project: July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2013

Description: Staff members of Youth Advocate Programs implemented its MERGE program (Males Engaged in Reducing Violence through Gainful Employment), which included:

  • Matching participants with trained advocates who help participants complete the program
  • Engaging families in supporting participants
  • An individual service plan is created for each participant, tailored to the individual's needs, strengths, and personal goals and the time needed to accomplish them.
  • A nine-session course in conflict resolution
  • Working with educational partners to address the educational and training needs of participants
  • Working with business partners to create a supportive work placement program for participants

“If we could guarantee them that we’ll find work for them, that could provide enough incentive for them to remain with the program.”—Program Co-Director Lamont Fauntleroy

Key Results

  • Of the 302 participants enrolled in the program, 117 completed group sessions designed to help individuals learn skills in anger management, decision-making, and personal responsibility.

  • Of the 145 participants who had set a goal of obtaining continuous employment or self-employment of at least half time, 89 accomplished this.

  • Of the 21 participants who had set a goal of completing high school, passing the GED, or making substantial progress toward completing the GED program, 20 accomplished this.

A story of two mentors who helped the young men is in a sidebar in the report.

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#YouthAdvocatePrograms in Atlantic City helped participants avoid criminality, lead meaningful lives.