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Grant Renewed for Violence Prevention

UC Riverside’s Presley Center Receives Two-Year Extension of Grant for Research on Youth Violence Prevention

Centers for Disease Control Award $770,000 To Continue Important Work

(September 30, 2003)

Nancy Guerra, professor of psychology

Nancy Guerra, professor of psychology

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — Professor of Psychology Nancy Guerra, associate director of the Presley Center for Crime and Justice Studies, has been awarded a $770,000 two-year extension on a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to continue research on how to prevent youth violence.

The original three-year grant, awarded in Oct. 2000, was $1.2 million. At that time, UC Riverside’s Presley Center was named by the CDC as one of 10 National Academic Centers of Excellence on Youth Violence. The two-year extension will provide funding through 2005 for this project, known nationwide as the Southern California Center of Excellence on Youth Violence Prevention.

Guerra is the lead investigator on the project, with cooperation from Presley Center Director Robert Nash Parker, and Professor of Sociology Kirk R. Williams. Research is conducted in concert with a multi-disciplinary consortium of faculty at UC Irvine, UCLA and UC Santa Barbara, as well as with faculty from USC and CSU San Marcos. Collectively, the project taps into the collective experience of youth violence experts in the fields of Psychology, Sociology, Criminology, and Law, Education, Psychiatry, Public Health, and Medicine.

UC Riverside Chancellor France A. Córdova lauded the continuation of the research. "The University has a strong commitment to bringing our expertise and experience into the community and combining it with that of local schools, law enforcement, local agencies, and community groups,” Córdova said. “The Presley Center has been successful in the first three years of this project in working with these organizations and agencies to develop and implement research and evaluation programs designed to empower the community to prevent youth violence."

In 2001, Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge asked the Presley Center and Dr. Guerra to work on the Riverside Youth Crime Prevention “Red Team.” In a letter of support to Dr. Guerra for the new grant Mayor Loveridge wrote, "Your participation as a member of the Riverside Youth Crime Prevention Red Team in 2001 was instrumental in developing a strategic plan for youth violence prevention in this city."

Based on recommendations of the Red Team, the city is piloting a neighborhood resource center in the Arlanza area of the city that will provide a central location for day care, parenting classes, social services, and referrals for needy families. The center, funded by a grant from Prop. 10 tobacco money, will open in early 2004 in Bryant Park.

Project Manager Pedro Payne praised the work done by UC Riverside. "The city of Riverside and the Arlanza Neighborhood Initiative have benefited from our collaborative work with the Southern California Center of Excellence on Youth Violence Prevention and will continue this partnership," he said. “The evaluation component is the key to the whole project. They will see what kind of results we get and whether we are effective for the community.”

Prof. Guerra, Prof. Parker and the Academic Center's Project Manager, Roxie Alcaraz, all serve on the Policy Board for the Arlanza project. More information about the project can be found online at .

The Southern California Academic Center of Excellence on Youth Violence Prevention has also developed a Web site, The Web site functions as a clearinghouse for youth violence prevention resources, featuring fact sheets and papers on various aspects of youth violence; county-by-county youth crime statistics for the state of California; a bibliography of youth violence related publications; resources and links for health care professionals, students, parents, and kids on youth violence prevention; training materials; and much more.

Goals and objectives for the two-year extension grant include expanding current projects; forming a similar “red team” to address youth violence issues in the city of Perris; research to determine the relationship between underage alcohol access and gang violence; summer seminars for graduate students; and developing a new curriculum for youth violence prevention for students at the USC Medical School.

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