Souls Strong Project

Program snapshot

Age group: Adolescence (12-17); Young adult (18-24)

Gender: Male only

Population served: Gang-involved (and/or at risk); Visible minority/ethnic group; Youth in contact with law enforcement (and/or at risk)

Topic: Aggressive/violent behaviours; Alcohol and/or drug use; Antisocial/deviant behaviours; Gang and/or related criminal activities

Setting: Urban area; Community-based setting

Location: Nova Scotia

Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: In progress

Continuum of intervention: Secondary crime prevention; Tertiary crime prevention

Brief Description

The Souls Strong Project is a community-based intervention program implemented by the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM). This program, which is based on the Wraparound approach,Footnote1 is aimed at reducing the risk factors associated with young people becoming involved in criminal and gang-related activities, while increasing protective factors associated with positive development.

The program is centered on academic support; community mobilization; conflict resolution; counselling and social work; family therapy; leadership and youth development; parent training; skills training; social emotional learning; substance prevention/treatment; and truancy prevention.

Goals

The main goals of the Souls Strong Project are to:

  • Reduce isolation, stresses, and negative rushes among youth at-risk of criminal/gang activity, drugs, antisocial behaviours, and violence;
  • Increase protective factors of self-reliance, resiliency, life and prosocial skills; and
  • Increase knowledge related to the Souls Strong Project in order for families and communities in at-risk areas to proactively respond to youth at-risk of joining gangs.

Clientele

The appropriate clientele for the Souls Strong Project are young men (African-Canadian) between the ages of 15 and 20 who are involved in or who are at high-risk of involvement with the criminal justice system.

Participants are referred to the Souls Strong Project by community leaders, family members, law enforcement officials, school officials, community service providers, and church elders.

To participate in the program, youth must have experienced violence, neglect, drug and/or alcohol abuse.

Core Components

The Souls Strong Project consists of:

  • Community capacity building and mobilization: Program assistants coordinate a community-based mentoring/support program that fosters crime prevention and intervention through community mobilization;
  • Case management: Case management teams and youth support teams work with youth to decrease their positive attitudes toward drugs, gangs, antisocial behaviours, and violence and increase their prosocial attitudes toward family, prosocial authority figures, adults, and peers;
  • Intergenerational activities/family support/healing and wellness: These activities include weekly bible studies for participants and their fathers, along with weekly leisure activities that foster healthy father-son relationships; and
  • Employment/academic support/skill development: These support and development activities provide youth with employment counselling, pre-placement and post-placement assistance, workshops, and seminars. These activities help increase youth’s interest in finding meaningful work and foster positive attitudes toward school and legal employment.

Implementation Information

Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:

  • Organizational requirements: The lead organization must ensure proper analysis of community needs and knowledge of existing services, resources, and organizations.
  • Partnerships: The success of the Souls Strong Project depends on its partnerships with family members and community-based organizations. In maintaining these partnerships, the program is able to keep up with African-Canadian traditions and facilitate a more effective, whole-system approach to crime prevention.
  • Training and technical assistance: Staff must be trained in the Wraparound approach.
  • Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
  • Materials & resources: Limited information on this topic.

International Endorsements

The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:

  • Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
  • Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
  • SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
  • Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.

Gathering Canadian Knowledge

Canadian Implementation Sites

Public Safety Canada's National Crime Prevention Strategy provided funding to implement the Souls Strong Project in Halifax (Nova Scotia) between 2013 and 2018. The program is being implemented by the Halifax Regional Municipality.

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

The Souls Strong Project has been selected for a process and outcome evaluation by Public Safety Canada. As the evaluation is currently in progress, results are not yet available at this time.

Cost Information

No information available.

References

There is no Canadian reference available at this time.

For more information on this program, contact:

Halifax Regional Municipality
PO Box 1749
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 3A5
Telephone: (902) 490-4309
Website: http://www.halifax.ca/home/


Record Entry Date - 2018-03-12

  1. 1

    For more information on Wraparound, refer to the program descriptive sheet.

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