“We try to provide safe spaces for the individuals that we serve by spending time with them and talking about topics that they might have never thought [about] in life, such as how to get a college degree or how to get into a field that has the potential for a career. We’ve done a few events that have taken guys out of the neighborhood to other parts of the city to experience a different way of life and get a break from the street life,” said Brandstrader.
SWOP’s Communities Partnering 4 Peace team is currently a group of ten people. Outreach workers respond to violent incidents, canvass the neighborhood, and build relationships. Case managers help participants find jobs or enroll in school. The whole team is led by a supervisor.
Sam Brandstrader is the data manager for the CP4P database. Formerly, Brandstrader volunteered with SWOP for several years. Brandstrader shared about the team’s recent work.
Brandstrader described their work, “A typical week for the team is that on a daily basis we canvas the neighborhood and try to get in touch with our participants in the program to spend time with them… it’s about the same each day, just new routes and a new round of participants come to the office. My position specifically, I create maps of the violence in the neighborhood and send [them] to the team. I also monitor the database to make sure that accurate information is uploaded so that we can track trends of violence.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has meant changes to their work. Brandstrader explained, “certain employment agencies have closed down and we can’t bring as many guys into the office because of social distancing. We still have a set routine of who can come through and we have good relationships with some of the employment agencies that are still operating so we can still offer employment to our participants.”