An introduction to the program
Teens, Crime, and the Community is a program that believes smarter youth make safer communities. Through a combination of education and service-learning, the Teens, Crime, and the Community (TCC) initiative has motivated more than one million young people to create safer schools and communities. TCC increases social responsibility in teens, educates them about the law, reduces their potential for victimization, and engages them in making their homes, schools, and communities safer.
Two programs are administered under the TCC initiative:
- Community Works, a comprehensive, law-related, crime prevention curriculum
- Youth Safety Corps, the club component of the TCC initiative.
Community Works educates students about the costs and consequences of crime, their rights and responsibilities as citizens, and their ability to bring about meaningful change through advocacy and service. Community Works' 11 core lessons teach students how to examine violence and law-related issues in the context of their schools and communities and apply what they learn to real-life circumstances. Twenty additional lessons tackle important youth-related issues including underage drinking, handguns and violence, substance abuse and drug trafficking, gangs, dating violence, conflict management, and police-youth relations.
Youth Safety Corps (YSC) provides youth interested in public safety and crime prevention (such as students who have completed a Community Works course) an opportunity to engage in ongoing, active participation in crime prevention. Young people partner with school resource officers, school personnel, and community volunteers to assess and analyze the safety and security issues within their schools and communities that contribute to youth violence and victimization. YSC teams then address those physical and social safety issues by implementing projects, such as painting over graffiti on the walls of a school, developing presentations to teach children about bullying, or surveying students about their attitudes toward underage drinking.
Adults who work with youth can facilitate a Community Works program, a Youth Safety Corps program, or both. Both Community Works and Youth Safety Corps have been successfully implemented as separate programs in school and community settings. However, Community Works and Youth Safety Corps work best together to provide an opportunity for the continual development of knowledge and skills. Youth further develop their understanding of crime and their skills to stay safe through Community Works, and they learn leadership and team-building skills by continuing to respond to their community's various safety needs with Youth Safety Corps. Youth master knowledge and skills when knowledge is reinforced and skills are practiced and applied.
The complementary goals and service project components of Community Works and Youth Safety Corps give youth the opportunity to participate in a comprehensive initiative that provides a framework to foster resiliency and help youth develop their leadership potential.