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Arlington County

“Imagine a community where all young people’s needs are met and their voices heard.” – Mary Ann Moran


CYFA launched the BuildStrong Initiative in Arlington County in January 2021 with its RRRprogram. The Initiative grew later the same year when the County issued CYFA a grant to implement its PEERprogram among a cohort of youth from the Green Valley and Buckingham neighborhoods.


Restorative philosophy promotes building relationships and rebuilding relationships after harm. CYFA developed PEERto address harmful behavior by young people through restorative practices. PEERis faithful to the indigenous practice of restorative justice:  

It honors the cultural roots of restorative justice

Seeks to center power in Black and Brown youth who are disproportionately impacted by the juvenile legal system and school disciplinary system

Utilizes a tested anti-racist curriculum to educate and empower youth and experienced restorative practitioners

Honors self-determination in youth participation.


This grant applies to youth ages 15 to 17 who reside in the Green Valley or Buckingham neighborhoods and are interested in transforming the juvenile legal system and school disciplinary system and addressing adolescent harm through restorative practice.


CYFA will train youth to serve as PEER Ambassadors – trained in PEER’s comprehensive anti-racist, social and emotional learning curriculum and empowered to address conflict through a restorative practice framework.


The power of lived experience cannot be overstated. To achieve system transformation, we must lift-up youth voice, particularly those most impacted by structural oppression. PEERAmbassadors will serve as leaders in their neighborhoods, schools, and community.


Participants will be trained in PEER and in holding restorative conferences. 


Recognizing that relationships start with conversations, CYFA launched RRRin Arlington to build community bonds and promote understanding. RRRprovides space for critical equity-based conversations that allow participants an opportunity to be curious and to heal in relation to one another.