Within this year alone, North Minneapolis neighborhoods have experienced disproportionate amounts of violence. For example, statistics tell us that from January to March 2012, families in North Minneapolis have experienced over 50% of the city’s homicides, 27% of the robberies, approximately 19% of the sexual assaults, and over 38% of the aggravated assaults. To address this exposure to violence among youth, the Minneapolis Urban League and the African-American Child Wellness Institute have recently received a collaborative grant from the Minneapolis Department of Health & Family Support to fund a free, community based program, Project Murua: A Pre-Meditated Parenting Boot Camp.
Project Murua is an African-Centered, wellness promotion and violence prevention program that grew out of a series of intensive focus group dialogues with African American parents in the Minneapolis neighborhoods whose lives were shattered by violence. Developed in 2007 by a clinical psychologist (Dr. BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya), the Project Murua curriculum utilizes an African Centered Wellness Model that focuses on how parents can ‘model and teach’ core African values that promote wellness in social, emotional, physical, spiritual, intellectual, vocational, cultural, and financial life areas. This new grant fits within the mission of the African-American Child Wellness Institute, which is to "Promote the Psychological and Spiritual Liberation of children of African descent." Additionally, this program supports the strategic framework of the Minneapolis Urban League's evidence-based “Gateway to Opportunity" initiative that is committed to reducing community-based risk-factors affecting overall well-being.
Since its inception, Project Murua has attracted considerable attention as a family strengthening tool and has captured the imagination of the communities it serves. To date, Project Murua has successfully provided over 200 parents (raising a combined total of 750 children) with intensive culturally congruent knowledge, skills, and resources that have increased their ability to nurture assets in their children and identify solutions to minimize risk factors. By engaging in responsible, respectful parenting strategies that have enhanced family wellness, parents have been coached in the use of best practices in reducing violence occurrences among high-risk youth in the community. Program data has indicated that Project Murua parents have significantly increased their family wellness strategies, increased their parenting skills, increased their knowledge of community resources, and increased their ability to reduce violence in their homes and communities.
All Minneapolis parents raising children of African descent between the ages of 10 to 18 are eligible to apply. Priority placement will be given to those parents who reside in the high-risk for violence neighborhoods of north and south Minneapolis. Boot camp participants will attend one weekly class session for a period of ten weeks. Classes begin on May 17th and will be held on Thursday evenings from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Minneapolis Urban League - North location (2100 Plymouth Ave. North). Food, childcare and transportation support will be provided. If you are interested in participating, please schedule a pre-registration interview with Ms. Kesha Walker ( 612-817-5763) or with Dr. BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya, LP (763-522-0100 or 612- 302-3140).