Office of Justice Programs (OJP)

Stand UP for Outlook

BJA Program(s): Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program
State(s): WA

Grantee Agency: See below

Grant Amount/Year(s): FY 2009/$80,000

About the Program:

Outlook is an unincorporated rural community which has a history and reputation for gang activity. Over the last 30 years gang related activity in the area has created a sometimes violent and intimidating environment. The Sheriff's Office has sporadically worked the area hard as limited manpower has allowed but the efforts have mostly been limited to short term solutions involving investigations and arrests.

The Yakima County Sheriff began talks with the numerous organizations and agencies in Yakima County who were all working on gang problems and designated JAG funding to an educational services provider for intervention and prevention services. The provider, Community Mobilization, recognizes the power of bringing together ALL facets of the community, and the Stand Up for Outlook committee membership reflects that. School, faith-based, prevention, intervention, treatment, juvenile justice, social services, and community members are all represented on the planning committee.

One of the first tasks of the organizing committee was to design and conduct a door to door survey of residents to get a sense of what their fears, hopes and dreams for the future were. The results of this survey were shared at the first community meeting held in January. Based on these results and thoughtful discussions at the first community meeting, the residents identified three immediate needs to work on: establishing block watches, organizing graffiti paint-out crews, and getting more street lighting in the town of Outlook. Other needs the community identified were strategies to engage young people in school, ways to manage youth behavior during the day, and a park or gathering space of some sort for community members to socialize and recreate.

Another important component of the work has been hiring two part-time community organizers. The University of Kansas has data showing that having a paid community organizer is extremely beneficial in getting community change results to happen. A portion of the Sherriff Office's JAG funding supports the Yakima Valley Farmworkers Northwest Community Action Council, Readiness to Learn case manager program. The Readiness to Learn (RTL) program exists to reduce barriers to learning and link education with human service providers in an effort to assist in the removal of non-academic barriers and ensure that all children are able to attend school prepared to learn. One RTL case manager works specifically in the Outlook elementary school. The other RTL case manager works with the Sunnyside School District, which includes the Outlook community.

Program Successes/Effect on the Community:

The Central Washington Comprehensive Mental Health provided two sessions of 12 week long parenting classes called "Strong Families". One session in Spanish has been offered at the Outlook Elementary school. Another session in English has been offered at an elementary school in nearby Sunnyside. Parents who complete this parenting course are enthusiastic about the changes that happen in their families because of their new knowledge. Pre- and post-survey data indicate a decrease in family tension from the first session to the last.

Committee members (1) ensure that Spanish language translation services are available at every meeting (2) create and distribute flyers to distribute the word throughout the greater Outlook area.

Twenty members of the Sheriff's Office are involved in daily monitoring of the area and taking action in Outlook. Law enforcement is participating with increased patrol, citizen contacts, awareness, and support.

Approximately 16 members of government and public service agencies help to coordinate Stand UP For Outlook.

Approximately 50 citizens regularly attend Stand UP For Outlook organizational meetings.

Three Block Watches in the process of being organized.

Since the project is in its beginning stages, many more successes are expected in the future. The project is designed to meet the needs of Outlook and doing so in such a way to replicate it in other communities with trouble spots throughout the county.

The Stand UP for Outlook program directly relates to BJA's mission by emphasizing local control, building relationships in the field, developing collaborations and partnerships and promoting capacity building through planning. Further, the Stand UP for Outlook program is innovative and as funding becomes available, the committee plans to replicate the basic design in other communities throughout the county.

Learn More:
To learn more about the program, please contact:
Anna Marie Dufault
Yakima County Community Mobilization Coordinator
Phone: 509-454-3130

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