Safe. Alive. And out of jail.

Wednesday Feb 22nd, 2023

District Attorney Elizabeth Hirz emphasizes these three goals when she addresses youth violence in our community. She is a strong advocate of United Way Community Schools because she has experienced first-hand how they are an essential partner in the DA’s work in keeping our young people on a positive path to a brighter future.

These were just a few of the focus areas she shared in her presentation A Preventive Approach to Youth Violence Prevention in Erie County at the February Briefing for United Way's Board of Corporators, Corporate and Funding Partners.

As Hirz explained to a crowd of nearly 100, the DA’s office in collaboration with UnifiedErie has developed a comprehensive youth violence reduction initiative addressing Prevention, Enforcement and Reentry. Prevention works toward coordinating long term efforts by organizations and services to reduce the likelihood of violence and other behavior problems among youth. She commended the work of United Way's Community Schools strategy to transform schools into places where educators, families, students and community partners are working together to strengthen conditions for student learning for healthy and safe development.

Enforcement partners use evidence-based strategies proven to address both individual and group violence in Erie. Reentry reduces the number of people caught in the revolving door of criminal behavior and prison.

DA Hirz and her team have also been working with United Way Community School Directors at middle schools to organize listening sessions which bring students together to talk openly about the issues affecting them. The session not only builds trust between the DA’s office, law enforcement and the students but it also sheds light on the most compelling issues facing students in our community. Most recently, Strong Vincent hosted a session recently with nearly 40 students openly sharing their concerns.