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COMPASS Youth Collaborative

Program Name: COMPASS Peacebuilder

COMPASS Youth Collaborative interrupts violence in the City of Hartford by building transformative relationships with youth at the center of the violence.  COMPASS Peacebuilders provide youth tools to create sustained behavior change and transition successfully to adulthood.

Who We  Serve

  • Youth 16-20 years old (at enrolment)
  • Youth who show risk factors of gang association.
  • Youth exposed to violence may be a victim or a driver (victims of violence are 59% more likely to become drivers of violence).
  • Possession of a weapon or criminal involvement
  • Some are street-involved, though still connected to school, but are not engaged or on track to graduate high school
  • Youth that are juvenile justice-involved
  • Youth deeply engaged in risky behavior and are well-known by police and probation
  • 89% of the youth we serve have lost a family member or close friend to gun violence
  • All of our youth suffer from trauma

COMPASS Youth Collaborative helps Hartford’s most disconnected youth navigate the barriers that keep them from succeeding in education, employment, and life.

Young adulthood, between the ages of 16 to 24, is a period of transition.  Most young people enter this stage dependent on individuals and systems to meet their basic needs, provide guidance and emotional support, and help them transition into productive adults.

Youths living surrounded by violence are in a constant “survival brain” state.  The brain is highjacked and ready to respond to threats against their life; therefore, they cannot learn, think, grow, or make sound decisions.   The prefrontal cortex and executive function are not able to work or be developed appropriately.

The transition to successful adulthood can be challenging for those without essential support and living in a constant flight state.  Add the effects of trauma, inability to trust others, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and anger, the transition to successful adulthood becomes a road full of barriers.

COMPASS Peacebuilders create transformative relationships to help youth overcome the barriers keeping them from successfully transitioning to adulthood.  Peacebuilders become the stable adult youth need to guide them through this transitional stage.  Using Cognitive Behavior Therapy delivered during one-on-one case management and in small groups, Peacebuilders teach life skills that change the trajectory of youth’s lives.

Program Components

COMPASS works with youth, giving them the tools they need to succeed in education, employment, and life.  We embed Cognitive Behavior Theory in everything we do.

Supporting Youth’s Mental Health

Using Cognitive Behavior Theory, our staff works with youth to help them understand the relationship between how they feel and what they do.  Our Licensed Clinical Social Workers and Peacebuilders provide life-saving skills, helping youth slow down, stop, and focus on what’s in front of them so they can make better decisions.

Responding to Crises and Canvassing Neighborhoods

Peacebuilders canvas the streets, connecting with young people and building trusting relationships.  During times of crisis, we work in the community to deescalate the tension and build peace.

We are the only community-based violence interruption program in Hartford.

Reconnect Youth to Education

Our Education Specialists work with youth, reconnecting them to education, whether in traditional classrooms, earning their GED, or obtaining licensures and attending trade schools

Preparing Youth for Employment

Youth work with Job Specialists who provide basic employment training (soft skills, time management) and financial literacy education.   We give youth a safe place to fail, learn from their failure, and try again.

COMPASS’s Training for Employment Program is designed for youth who are not ready for traditional job placement programs;

  • TEP Job Specialists provide youth with the essential professional skills they need to succeed in employment.
  • Cognitive Behavior Theory skills are embedded in TEP, helping youth better understand the connection between their thoughts, emotions, and actions.
  • COMPASS provided youth with a safe place to learn new skills, practice those skills, fail, learn from their failures, and try again.

TEP Components:

    • Four Days at Worksite
      • Joan C. Dauber Food Pantry
      • The Brooks Token Inc
    • One Day in the Classroom
      • Learn new CBT Skills
      • Build Resume
      • Practice Interview Skills

Hospital Violence Intervention Program

Trauma experts know It takes more than just medical intervention to treat young people injured by community violence.  They also know that the best time to improve lives and reduce retaliation and recidivism is during the “golden hour” when a patient arrives in the emergency room.

COMPASS’s Crisis Response Program is designed to meet victims of community violence during that “golden hour” at the bedside in the emergency room.  Using a trauma-informed approach, our team advocates for victims of violence and their families while in the hospital.

Upon discharge, the team works with the youth and their families to develop a plan that meets their safety needs and provides case management and physical and emotional healing services.

COMPASS is proud to be a member of HAVI, The National Health Alliance for Violence Intervention.  Hospital Intervention Programs promote survivors’ physical and emotional recovery.

Supports Available Through Program: One on One case Management Life skills Mental Health Support Training for Employment Program Reconnecting to Education Cognitive Behavior Theory Basic needs, food, toiletries and basic clothing

Contact Details

Program Lead Point of Contact: Elizabeth Giannetta Ramos

Program Director

Location Address
55 Airport Rd, Hartford, CT 06114

Program Details

Career Continuum Program Level: Career Awareness

Badges/Credentials Offered: Certificate - Educational, Certificate - Industry/Sector-Based, Certificate - Other


Length of Program: COMPASS Peacebuilders is a four-year program.

Target Population: In-school Youth, Out-of-School Youth (OY), Returning Citizens, Justice-Involved Youth, Hartford Resident, Other

Target Population Gender: TBD

Eligibility Requirements: Target Population - In-School Youth, Target Population - Out-of-School Youth (OY), Target Population - Returning Citizens, Target Population - Justice-Involved Youth, Target Population - Hartford Resident, Other

Eligibility Requirements Other: Age 16-20 upon enrollment

Residency Eligibility Requirements: Hartford Resident

Service Type: Career Competency Training, Financial Literacy Education, Guidance and Counseling, Individual Service Strategy, Integrated Education and Training, Job Development and Support, Work experience

Schedule (When is your program offered?): Year Round

Capacity for Each Implementation (Target Number): 200

Website/Marketing Materials for Program

Marketing Materials Downloads:


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