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Graduation ceremony this weekend

[Madison, WI] In late February, a new program in Madison will bring youth and officers together for a week in a new initiative called the Youth and Police Initiative (YPI) with the goal of helping them learn more about what it is like to be in each other’s shoes, and to increase trust in each other. The press is invited to attend the graduation ceremony for this initiative, held on Februrary 23rd from 12-1:30pm at the Warner Park Community Recreation Center. Participants who complete the workshop will be attending this graduation celebration alongside family and friends, and representatives from the Madison Police Department leadership. Lunch will be served at noon, and the ceremony will take place after lunch.
The program takes place from February 18-23rd - officers and youth meet every day for a week and, under the guidance of two Zeidler Center YPI Trainers, engage in exchanges about personal experiences, and presentations about personal choices they have made in their respective lives. Throughout the week, participants practice their leadership skills and public speaking skills, while humanizing each other. The program provides youth with tools in goal setting, leadership and decision making, and enables officers to acquire new communication tools and explore best practices based on suggestions made by the youth. The youth for this session were individually selected by Terrence Thompson, Warner Park Facility Manager.
This initiative is offered as a part of the Northside Peace and Safety Program, a collaboration between the Center for Community Stewardship and the Frank Zeidler Center for Public Discussion, a program funded by the City of Madison Safe and Thriving Program, and the Madison Community Foundation. Warner Park Community Recreation Center is a communtiy partner for this first YPI in Madison. The overarching goal of this program is to encourage relationship building between young leaders and officers who patrol their neighborhood, as well as to increase trust levels and to decrease biases and stereotypes across the board.
The Youth and Police Initiative was established in 2003 by the North American Family Institute (NAFI), and brought to Wisconsin by the Zeidler Center in Milwaukee in 2018, and now in Madison starting February 2019.
“Since the beginning of our programming in 2018, we report an average 25 percent increase in youth participants’ trust in the police, and an average 23 percent increase in officers reporting that they show empathy and compassion in situations involving teenagers. It is really a transformative experience for both officers and youth participants and we are extremely excited to start hosting YPI sessions in Madison,” said Julie Barrot De Brito, Associate Director of the Zeidler Center.
At the conclusion of YPI, programming is in place for youth participants interested in further practicing their leadership skills by taking part in Youth Facilitator Training. Youth Facilitators will then start co-facilitating our two upcoming Youth & Police Listening Circles in Madison during the spring of 2019. To find out more about the YPI program, the Youth Facilitator Trainings, the Youth and Police Listening Circles, and the Northside Resident and Police Listening Circles, visit: