Biscayne College Professor Dr. Jeffrey Pickens Helps Local Community Organization Obtain Major Grant to Prevent Youth Violence in North Miami-Dade County
, FL – September, 24, 2013 - Biscayne College faculty member and professor of psychology Jeffery Pickens has long been committed to making a difference in the community. For over 10 years Dr. Pickens has worked with what is currently known as the North Dade Youth and Family Coalition
(NDYFC), a coalition of community organizations, service providers, police departments, and municipal governments all focused on preventing violence and promoting youth success in Opa-Locka and Miami Gardens.
Recently Dr. Pickens was instrumental in helping NDYFC obtain a multi-year, $3 million dollar grant from The Children's Trust. The funds will be used to support the coalition's work as a one-stop "service partnership" where NDYFC member organizations will combine efforts to meet the needs of the community.
At a recent meeting of NDYFC held at St. Thomas University, over 35 representatives of community organizations, police departments, and politicians from Opa-Locka and Miami Gardens gathered to celebrate the new stage of the coalition's work. Said Dr. Pickens: “We can no longer tolerate the high levels of crime and violence in our community. I'm a developmental psychologist, and when a young person goes down a dark path it's very difficult to change that… We have to work together to maximize our resources and work together to address the community's needs. This is the opportunity to turn the corner and do that.”
While conducting his own engaged research with NDYFC, Dr. Pickens also works with STU psychology interns to apply their classroom learning to the needs of NDYFC member programs. Throughout 2013-2014 the St. Thomas University Center for Justice and Peace/Center for Community Engagement will be working with Dr. Pickens to build further engagement throughout the STU campus with NDYFC. Said Anthony Vinciguerra, Coordinator of the Center: "This process of engaged learning serves the community, enhances academic learning, and embodies our Catholic call to make a difference in the world -- It's a win-win all around."
For more information contact Dr. Jeffery Pickens (firstname.lastname@example.org
) or Anthony Vinciguerra at the Center for Justice and Peace/Center for Community Engagement (email@example.com