FSW’s SNUG Program in Mt. Vernon Receives International Attention

04/30/2015 – On Friday, April 24th and Saturday, April 25, Family Services of Westchester’s (FSW’s) SNUG program in Mt. Vernon welcomed Mohammed Asideh a representative from Cure Violence International who was visiting from the Middle East to observe the program in action.  Mr. Asideh will be training teams of Cure Violence workers from countries throughout the Middle East, so he was eager to see how the program is being implemented in the United States.  SNUG (Guns spelled backwards) in Mt. Vernon is an FSW program, which has been funded by a Neighborhood Violence Prevention Project grant from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.  The project is based on the increasingly popular Cure model, which treats violence like an epidemic and deploys “violence interrupters” to locate ongoing conflicts and respond with a variety of conflict mediation techniques both to prevent imminent violence and to change the norms around the need to use violence.

On Friday, Mr. Asideh attended a meeting with the SNUG staff and members of the Bravehearts program in Yonkers as they discussed an upcoming roundtable event.  He then accompanied SNUG staff to the field, where he was able to witness to two staff members mediating an argument between two members of the same gang.  The following day, Program Director Damon Bacote took Mr. Asideh to a housing complex in the target area in order to see the street outreach part of the Cure Violence model in action.  He observed the SNUG team as they gave out slices of pizza and juice, as well as informational brochures, to passersby.  He was also given an opportunity to meet with some of the current participants in the program as they stopped by for a snack.  Mr. Asideh was impressed with what he saw and grateful for the opportunity to gather first-hand knowledge about program implementation, which he will now use to help adapt the model for the Middle East.

FSW operates more than 50 mental health and social service programs that reach 30,000 children, teens, adults and families each year. FSW’s programs run the gamut from adoption services to elder care, from home health care to youth residences and include chapters of such national programs as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Head Start and AmeriCorps. The agency’s 450 employees and 350 volunteers operate out of seven offices throughout Westchester County. To learn more about FSW, visit the agency’s website at www.fsw.org or contact Courtney Rabb at (914) 305-6836 or crabb@fsw.org.


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