Who We Work With

Roca finds and focuses only on young people at the center of urban violence – those who are traumatized, full of distrust, and are trapped in a cycle of violence and poverty that traditional youth programs alone can’t break. But to heal the trauma of urban violence and the extreme racial disparity of its impact, it’s going to take all of us. That’s why Roca also builds relationships with the institutions young people interact with – like the police and other system partners – to spark new thinking about working with young people who are traumatized and stuck.

Young Adults

At The Center Of Urban Violence

16-to-24-year-olds who have experienced extensive trauma and are the primary victims or drivers of urban violence

  • Involved in the criminal justice system
  • Have lower literacy and typically no high-school degree or GED
  • Have no formal or sustained employment history
  • Involved with guns, gangs, and drugs
  • Have failed out or dropped out of programs, schools, and jobs
  • May be young parents

To What End?

Reduced incarceration. Sustained employment. Improved parenting.

I was iffy at first because I didn’t trust anyone and I didn’t want to tell anyone my business. Now, I consider my youth worker Sam my family.”

—Dante, Roca Chelsea Participant

System Partners

At The Center Of Urban Violence

Adults in critical public systems that impact young people and influence urban violence

  • Public safety leaders
  • Police officers
  • Judges, probation officers, and court system officials
  • Corrections officers
  • Prosecutors and defense attorneys
  • Child protective services

To What End?

Demonstrated policy and practice changes for the highest-risk young people.

Systems change when people change and people change when they feel something.”

—Dr. Alisha Moreland-Capuia,
Author Of Training For Change

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