Respect Without Violence was selected as the theme for the Si Se Puede Leadership program based on discussions with youth participating in the program regarding the increase in Violence to include Gun Violence in our Communities.  Youth identified drugs (Meth), gang rivalries, drug deals gone bad and being “disrespected” as issues.   With that in mind, the program staff decided to try something different in regards to the number of youth who would participate in this session. 

The staff worked with a smaller group in order to give more individual attention to the participants, but also for the panels, featured speakers to have more impact on the youth and the youth to increase their awareness in regards to the impacts of Violence on the victims and our communities.  The Teambuilding/Youth Presentations focused on having Respect without Violence.  One group did a short video that had a violent approach and then an approach that did not use violence; the second group did a rap focusing on respect without violence and one participant hand drew a picture.  (See below) with the side caption that reads: “Put aside your Pride, Set down your Arrogance and Remember your Grave”. 

These were presented at the Graduation ceremonies.  Sessions also included a community panel from professionals who work with victims of violent acts to include gun violence.  The Panel included AFR, Carrie Tingley, UNM Trauma Program, UNM Pediatric Trauma, New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence. Enrique Cardiel, Executive Director of Bernalillo County Community Health Council presented on Social Determinants of Health and how gun violence affects public health, Substance Abuse Awareness was presented by Serenity Mesa and Managing Emotions by Tree Frog/Perfectly Imperfect. 

A Saturday was spent on “Above the Influence” where discussion/powerpoint presentation was held on being above the influence of alcohol, drugs, and peer pressure. Youth also watched “Duke City Diaries” where young people have changed their lives from drugs/alcohol, gangs, prison and living a violent lifestyle to careers that help others in the community.