Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets

Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets (YO S.O.S.) is a youth development program that aims to empower young people, ages 14-17, to become community leaders and organizers. YO S.O.S. participants join an exciting anti-gun violence movement within Crown Heights, Brooklyn, called Save Our Streets (S.O.S.), bringing the ever-vital youth voice to this pressing community issue.

Through a combination of experiential workshops and service learning opportunities, YO S.O.S. participants develop the skills needed for tomorrow's leaders, such as community organizing, networking, public speaking, job training, and real-world work experience. Participants' youth development activities will be supplemented by one-on-one case management to provide additional services when needed. Participants who successfully complete the program components will receive a stipend and will be placed in paid summer employment or internship opportunities.

Program Components

YO S.O.S. at the "Not In My Hood" March and Service Fair, 2011
Experiential Workshops

YO S.O.S. offers a variety of after-school and summer workshops and trainings for its youth organizers, geared toward helping participants make positive life choices. Workshops cover topics like community organizing, conflict resolution, leadership training, and professional development. In addition to the core content of the workshops, this aspect of the program is designed to develop skills such as teamwork, healthy communication, and peer mediation.

Community organizing training with tenants' rights organizer 
Victor Monterrosa, Jr.
Community Organizing

Youth organizers work together to design and implement public education campaigns to bring awareness to the culture of gun violence in the community. The youth organizers learn about research, organizing, and marketing methods and hold discussions with youth and adult community stakeholders. The youth organizers are empowered to use methods that allow them to target their anti-gun-violence campaign toward peers. The youth organizers also participate in community anti-violence projects, outings and related service projects.
At the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Action in Red Hook
 with many youth programs from Brooklyn.
We celebrated "a day ON not a day OFF."

Case Management

Throughout the program, a full-time case manager provides on-going support to program participants. Upon joining YO S.O.S., each youth undergoes a one-on-one assessment to identify his or her strengths and interests that can be built upon in the program. YO S.O.S. staff also work closely with the youths and their families to connect them to community partners and social service providers for additional support and opportunities.

Summer Job Placement

Youth organizers meeting with Save Our Streets outreach worker
 Derick Scott and hospital interrupter Kenneth Edwards
YO S.O.S. staff work with each youth organizer to place them in a paid summer employment position. To prepare for this experience, participants develop a resume, practice interviewing skills, and help identify possible places of employment. Staff provide on-going support throughout the summer to both participants and their employers to ensure that the placement is a positive and productive experience for all.

Why Join YO S.O.S.?
Ü  Make a change in your community
Ü  Gain work experience
Ü  Help stop the violence
Ü  Earn a stipend
Ü  Become a leader


Ruby-Beth Buitekant  Program Coordinator and Social Media Coordinator

"I am coming to this role with excitement because I believe in the power of young people and young people's voices to make changes in their neighborhoods and in the world.  I think the idea of a youth led anti-violence movement is something that every community dealing with violence and community harm could benefit from" (To continue reading click here)


Thank you for considering donating to Youth Organizing To Save Our Streets. Your donation will help fund the powerful work of YO S.O.S.

Click here to be redirected to our donate page on the Center For Court Innovation website. To make a donation to YO S.O.S. or to S.O.S. please make sure to select "Crown Heights Mediation Center" in the program designation dropdown menu.

If you'd like to make a donation by mail, please make your check out to our parent organization, the Fund for the City of New York, and mail it to The Crown Heights Community Mediation Center, YO S.O.S., 256 Kingston Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11213.

Contact Us

Call us: 718-773-6886
Twitter: @yo_sos
Snail mail: YO S.O.S., 256 Kingston Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11213

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