REACH empowers communities from within by using community-rooted leaders with relevant lived experiences to support and transform the lives of vulnerable, at-risk and system-involved youth, their families, the community, and systems.
REACH is a Credible Messenger program, a type of intervention strategy that empowers communities by uplifting people closest to the issues to create public safety solutions. REACH aims to reduce social harm and effect positive change through community members who are respected and trusted as role models. These community members, known as “credible messengers,” use their life experiences to provide guidance and support to vulnerable, at-risk, or legal system-involved youth. The credibility and influence of the messenger dramatically increases the effectiveness of the message and leads to more positive outcomes in the community.
Credible messengers operate in trusted support roles as their life experiences are aligned in significant areas with the background of those with whom they are working. They are uniquely positioned to breakthrough to system-involved youth in a powerful and transformative way. The credible messenger movement has seen improved outcomes for youth including reduction in recidivism, increased compliance with court requirements, increased engagement with programs and services, and positive connection to the community. The credible messengers also see benefits through renewed purpose, opportunities for personal and professional training, and positive reintegration into the community.
Credible Messengers who act as violence interrupters leverage personal relationships to address ongoing disputes to prevent these incidents from escalating into community violence. Their activities can include mediating with individuals and groups that have planned violent events and, in some cases, connecting key community members to decrease the possibility of conflicts. They are conflict mediators utilizing problem-solving skills to address safety risks and to end conflict.
REACH is part of CYFA’s restorative practices continuum. As an intervention strategy, REACH recognizes that relationships are central to justice transformation and addressing individual and community trauma.
vailable to youth and young adults ages 16 to 21 years who are involved in the legal-system or at-risk for system involvement.
REACH is a curriculum-based, multi-resource credible messenger program designed to expand opportunities available to youth and young adults through education, employment, health services, family engagement, civic participation, and mentorship.
Meaningful and credible relational intervention at critical points in the lives of vulnerable, at-risk, and legal system-involved youth and young adults can provide transformative outcomes for the young person, their families, and the community.
Credible Messengers – individuals with unique positioning in the community or who have successfully returned to the community after legal system involvement (i.e., Returning Citizens) and have sustainably transformed their lives – are critical partners in maintaining public safety through their unique ability to form trusting relationships with young people through authentic shared experiences and understanding.