The Center to Prevent Youth Violence
The Center to Prevent Youth Violence (CPYV), originally known as PAX, is a non-profit organization co-founded in 1998 by Daniel Gross and Talmage Cooley, with the mission of ending the crisis of gun violence in America by repositioning the issue as a common sense matter of public health and safety, rather than the seemingly intractable political wedge issue it had become. By 2002, PAX had become the largest non-lobbying organization working on gun violence prevention as a result of the success and rapid expansion of its ASK and SPEAK UP campaigns, which were designed to have immediate impact on the frequency of gun deaths and injuries, while also shifting the national dialogue around guns to a prevention-driven, public health and safety orientation.
In 2011, PAX officially changed its name to The Center to Prevent Youth Violence to better reflect the youth and family focus of its prevention driven campaigns. In 2012 the organization was merged with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and Daniel Gross became President of the Brady Campaign. Talmage Cooley resigned as co-CEO of The Center to Prevent Youth Violence in 2004 but remained on the organization's Board of Trustees until its merger with the Brady Center in 2012. Cooley is now the Founder and CEO of Democracy.com.
Since inception, CPYV has created groundbreaking public health and safety campaigns that promote the simple steps parents, kids and others can take to prevent violence affecting youth, including gang-related and other urban violence; school shootings; suicides, accidents and homicides involving firearms which claim the lives of eight children and teens every day.
CPYV has created two parent-focused problems aimed at educating parents about simple steps they can take to reduce the risk of violence affecting their children.
The ASK Campaign was launched in 2000 by the gun violence prevention organization PAX (renamed The Center to Prevent Youth Violence in 2011 and merged with the Brady Campaign in 2012). In partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the ASK Campaign's goal is to encourage parents to ask if there are guns where their children play (i.e. the homes of friends and relatives). The ASK Campaign includes television and radio public service announcements and collateral materials that inform parents and inspire them to ask about the presence of firearms in the homes where their children play. If the answer is yes, then parents are encouraged to make sure they are stored securely in a place that is inaccessible to children. Community-based ASK Campaigns have been implemented in Rockford, IL and in Portland, OR.
The ASK Campaign is also observed nationally on National ASK Day, June 21 of each year. In 2011 a major ASK Day event was held in Miami, Florida in response to the recently passed ban on physicians asking their patients about the presence firearms in the home. The event encouraged parents to ask themselves, since physicians were restricted in their ability to do so. The ban has since been blocked.
Suicide-Proof Your Home
The Suicide-Proofing Initiative was launched in September 2011 in partnership with the Rhode Island Department of Health under a youth suicide prevention grant from SAMHSA. This program is based on research conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, which illustrates that preventing youth access to lethal means of suicide, such as firearms, reduces the likelihood that a young person will die from suicide. The Suicide-Proofing Initiative includes TV and radio public service announcements, mass awareness materials, and a website, www.suicideproof.org, all of which are aimed at educating parents of adolescents and teens about simple steps they can take around their homes to reduce the risk of a suicide occurring.
CPYV believes that young people have the power to prevent violence. The SPEAK UP campaign and hotline give youth the tools and motivation to help keep their communities safe.
The Speak Up Campaign (and the 1-866-SPEAKUP hotline) was launched in 2002 by PAX (renamed The Center to Prevent Youth Violence in 2011 and merged with the Brady Campaign in 2012) based on the insight that in the vast majority of incidences of youth violence, young people who are not involved in the violence know what is going to happen before it does. Speak Up targets youth with a message encouraging them to “speak up” about threats of violence they hear about, either by telling an adult who can help or by calling 1-866-SPEAK-UP, an anonymous, national hotline maintained by CPYV. Speak Up programs are currently being implemented in New York City; Minneapolis; Cumberland County, NC; Lindale, TX; Berkeley, CA; and Waldron, AR.
1-866-SPEAK-UP is national hotline for students to anonymously report threats of violence 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The hotline is operated in accordance with a rigid protocol developed in collaboration with national education and law enforcement authorities. Trained counselors collect information from callers and then immediately report the threat to appropriate school and law enforcement officials. The counselors also have access to an extensive database of local, city, and state referral sources, which they can offer callers who call with issues unrelated to youth violence.
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