Choose Peace/Stop Violence is a county-wide violence prevention collaborative in Broward County, Florida. Its vision is for youth and families to thrive in safe and healthy neighborhoods, vibrant with opportunities for personal, educational and economic growth.
In 2009, a series of violent acts among youth brought community leaders together to ask “What can we do to stop the violence?” A youth was set on fire over money resulting in permanent injuries; a teen was severely beaten over text messages; a student was killed in a drive by-shooting outside of a school; and the list continues.
In the face of these horrific events more than 200 elected officials, students, law enforcement representatives, faith-based leaders, business leaders, charitable foundations, educators, the media and other stakeholders came together at the 2010 Youth Anti-Violence Summit to create a community-wide collaboration on youth violence prevention. As a result of this convening, the creation of the “Choose Peace/Stop Violence” initiative was conceived. A “Planting the Seeds of Peace” campaign was implemented to promote peaceful schools in the Broward County School District under the banner of “Agents of Change Your Choice, Your Actions, Your Life”
Since then, Choose Peace/Stop Violence has evolved as a continuing partnership between Broward County Public Schools School Climate & Discipline Department, United Way of Broward County and Children’s Services Council of Broward County with support of the Broward Sheriff’s Office – Law Enforcement Trust Fund. The collaborative focuses on anti-bullying, youth violence prevention, fostering social justice awareness and academic improvement through positive development promotion and sustainable tools to change the climate and culture of the schools.