Community Education and Awareness
We believe that educating the greater Atlanta community and individuals who work with at-risk youth in law enforcement, the court, and other organizations is effective to not only increase awareness and understanding of child abuse and trafficking, but also to protect our youth from future exploitation. youthSpark conducts research on effective interventions to determine what works best to serve at-risk youth and then integrates these experiences and findings into our program design and community collaborations. youthSpark trains other youth-serving organizations, public agencies, law enforcement, and social workers on best practices identified through our ongoing data collection. We provide annual training to Fulton County Juvenile Court judges, probation officers, and other mandated reporters to help them identify and refer at-risk youth to our Center and engage in advocacy initiatives to educate policymakers and elected officials on our research-based interventions. We also provide technical assistance to other groups and organizations to help them create frameworks for their specific audiences. For example, we worked with the City of South Fulton with the ordinances they were working to create and pass. We have provided assistance to groups like Grady Hospital Nurses, the Safe America Foundation, and WellStar to support their own coalition building. Our community ambassadors program provides training to community members to learn about the real-world issues youthSpark addresses and how they can make a difference, either through volunteerism or advocacy. Our holistic, systemic approach gives us a 360-degree view into youth vulnerability and ensures our work is sustainable and cross-cutting across all sectors so that we can prevent youth abuse and exploitation and make meaningful impacts on youth’s lives.