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VIP Youth Organizing Institute

The Violence Intervention & Prevention (VIP) Youth Organizing Institute is a peer leadership program. It explores the roots of violence and ways to address them.

Homicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for young people ages 10 – 24 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The VIP Initiative at the BPHC created the Youth Organizing Institute to try and change this statistic. The VIP Youth Organizing Institute is a peer leadership program. It explores the roots of violence and ways to address them in the three most affected neighborhoods of Boston: Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury. The VIP Youth Organizing Institute provides an opportunity to include youth voices in the city's violence prevention initiatives through advocacy and workshops.

  • bphclogo@3x-8

  • Have questions or want to connect?

    Contact Geraldy St.Clair

  • 1010 Massachusetts Ave.

    6th Floor

    BOSTON, MA 02118

Our organizing goals

  • Youth will understand the root causes of violence in their community
  • Understand the connection of racism, other inequities, and negative community outcomes
  • Explore different ways of coping and healing from traumatic events in their community
  • Understand the public health/VIP approach to violence prevention
  • Develop and present a violence prevention plan to the VIP Initiative
  • Strengthen leadership skills
  • Strengthen facilitation skills and present violence prevention workshops to schools, youth programs, and other interested parties

Summer VIP Youth Organizing Institute

Photo of VIP interviews

The VIP Youth Institute is a six-week intensive summer program. It hires youth organizers living in the neighborhoods of Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury. During the six weeks youth will:

  • build relationships with one-another
  • learn about root causes of violence
  • understand the public health approach to violence prevention
  • identify different types of power
  • learn how 'isms' work
  • identify their role in preventing community violence

In addition to the violence prevention workshops, the youth organizers visit each of the eight VIP coalition sites. They learn from a panel of community partners about how violence is currently prevented in communities.

Near the end of summer, youth organizers develop and present their own violence prevention strategies to the BPHC and VIP partner agencies.

VIP Academic Youth Institute

In 2017, VIP launched the academic year Youth Organizing Institute. During the school year, VIP youth organizers develop a series of peer-facilitated violence prevention workshops. They present these workshops to:

  • schools
  • youth groups
  • afterschool programs
  • interested groups and organizations

Youth organizers look for opportunities to collaborate with other youth leaders in Boston. They engage in peer to peer learning experiences.

Meet some of our VIP Youth Organizers

Meet some of our organizers

My name is Niasia, I have been with the Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative for about a year now and I hope to continue. My time with VIP has been an amazing experience. I have learned vital life skills such as professionalism, public speaking, and curiosity. I learned to have the confidence to speak my mind and share my opinions while doing it in a respectful way. I have learned to continuously ask questions to learn more. These are very important skills to have while working in a professional space. I am very grateful to have been able to be a part of this program and learn so much.


My name is Omar. I have been with VIP Youth Organizing Institute for two cycles. I started in the summer of 2018 and stayed for the academic year of 2019. One thing participating in the VIP Youth Organizing Institute has taught me is how to be an advocate for my community, and how to stand up for myself as a black young man.


​My name is Idiris and I am graduating from Boston Latin Academy in 2021. During my time at V.I.P I have learned countless things that will be beneficial to me for the rest of my life. For instance, my group and I facilitated a workshop focused on protective and risk factors to further the understanding on certain factors related to peer pressure among Boston youth. Also, through this experience working with V.I.P both during the summer and the academic year, I have strengthened my understanding of my violence prevention initiative for at risk communities. This job not only assists in academic and personal help, but also in becoming an active citizen and promoting advocacy for those who are struggling in this world. Essentially, my experience at V.I.P has been a wonderful experience where I matured as a person and also as an intellectual in my community.

How to apply to be a Peer Organizer

The VIP Youth Organizing Institute has two sessions. One takes place during the academic school year and the other runs during the summer. To enroll in either session you must complete an application through the Department of Youth Engagement and Employment (YEE) Successlink.

After completing the application, an in-person interview will take place. Current youth organizers will conduct the interview. Decision about placement happens within a week of the interview. Each cycle requires a new completed application.

Upcoming Workshops and Events featuring VIP Youth Organizers:

  • Peer Leadership Institute
  • Jackson Mann Community Center
  • Roxbury Youth Programs
  • Youth Rally for Community Violence Prevention

Past Presentation Locations:

  • Boston Area Health Education Center
  • Our Mattapan Youth Council
  • Peer Leadership Institute
  • Project R.I.G.H.T. Inc.
  • Roxbury Youth Programs
  • Youth in Public Health Summit at Harvard School of Public Health
  • bphclogo@3x-8

  • Have questions or want to connect?

    Contact Geraldy St.Clair

  • 1010 Massachusetts Ave.

    6th Floor

    BOSTON, MA 02118
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