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Building Resiliency and Vocational Excellence (BRAVE) Program: A Violence-Prevention and Role Model Program for Young, African American Males

NCJ Number
Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved Volume: 16 Issue: 4 Dated: November 2005 Pages: 78-88
Date Published
November 2005
11 pages
This article describes the features and improvements over time of the Building Resiliency and Vocational Excellence Program (BRAVE), which is a substance-abuse and violence-prevention program for 16-20 year-old African-American youths who are at risk for involvement with drugs and violence.
BRAVE uses an intervention technique called “Resiliency Networking,” which incorporates coaching, career planning, and the redefinition of gender roles, so as to help young African-American men develop a sense of purpose that guides the management of their lifestyles. In addition to fostering a strong link with an older mentor, the program fosters healthy peer-to-peer relationships. The premise of the BRAVE Program is that young adult African-American men who attach themselves to positive successful community role models; who cultivate appropriate adaptive skills for community settings; who internalize social norms that equate manhood with personal responsibility; and who develop potentially rewarding vocational careers will be less likely to become involved with substance abuse and engage in violence. Working with youth who are prone to criminal involvement may require attention to risk factors that are pivotal in this subpopulation, particularly the risks posed by disadvantageous economic and social conditions. The BRAVE Program learned that presenting evidence-based drug-prevention curricula--such as Life Skills, Violence Prevention, and the Dealing With Anger curricula--and training African-American men and adolescents in community institutions provides a powerful systems-level intervention. Men and boys who participate in these programs become more competent advisers for youth, promote peer-to-peer filial bonds, and generally strengthen the health promotional infrastructure in community settings. Further testing of the effectiveness of the components of the BRAVE Program should involve randomization at the neighborhood level. 69 notes

Date Published: November 1, 2005