This project is designed to get guns off the streets of the nation’s capital by offering education and training opportunities to young people prepared to exchange firearms for personal and professional advancement. It capitalizes on 23 years of experience by an award-winning community organization, The Alliance of Concerned Men (ACM), and builds on over two years of research and development by ACM in partnership with American University (AU) faculty.

Guns-for-Opportunity (GfO), will serve as a gateway to a suite of services for young citizens of Washington, DC, offering them paths to psycho-social healing, education, instruction in dispute management and civil rights, and employment training. GfO utilizes community-based mentors. The project cycle is captured in this diagram. It includes continuous monitoring and evaluation.

Guns-for-Opportunity Project Cycle

A key objective of these project elements is to build individual and community resilience.

Guns for Opportunity – as opposed to guns for cash! – is an innovative program to introduce young citizens who turn in firearms and other weapons to a system of healing, education and training that within a period of approximately twelve months equips them with the knowledge and skills to become more productive citizens.

An initial product of this initiative is an 88-page manual of training resources to be used as a tool to facilitate violence prevention workshops aimed at empowering youth to become agents of change in their communities. The manual contains lesson plans, workshop ideas, motivational and action plans, with easy to follow directions and illustration. The manual and accompanying training workshops can be used in schools, community organizations and law enforcement.

Preventing Deadly Conflict in DC: The purpose of this project, “Youth Violence Prevention,” is to offer young people in some of the most challenged communities in Washington, DC opportunities to learn skills in violence prevention and conflict management and resolution. The project involves training workshops followed by a web-based simulation where participants apply the skills they have learned to real life situations. The goal of the project is to help develop a mind set and behavioral skills that will allow the young participants to utilize a potential conflict situation as an opportunity for positive change in individuals and in neighborhoods. The DC-community-based Alliance of Concerned Men (ACM) has been in the forefront of efforts to prevent youth violence. This project will be developed in partnership with ACM and other local NGOs including the Institute of World Affairs (IWA) and Project ICONS of the University of Maryland to find ways to prevent and address the issues surrounding youth violence in DC and, eventually, other metropolitan areas.

Director: Dr. Hrach Gregorian