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Carnegie Launches Effort To Target Youth Violence

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In an effort to strengthen the field of violence prevention for adolescents, three nonprofit groups are collaborating on a national project to link practitioners, encourage research and evaluation, and change the way movies and television shows portray violence.

The project, initiated and funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, will create a network of practitioners and evaluators of violence-prevention programs, a new university-based center for research on the topic, and a group that will work with the entertainment industry to ensure that one of the most pervasive influences on adolescents portrays violence more responsibly.

The venture represents the first time Carnegie has initiated a project in this area, officials said.

Earlier this year, as part of its ongoing program "The Education and Healthy Development of Children and Youth,'' the philanthropy provided three grants totaling more than $1.5 million to launch the new project, said Elena O. Nightingale, a senior program officer at the corporation.

The Education Development Center in Newton, Mass., received $248,500 to create and support the network that will connect those who run violence-prevention programs with academic specialists and other experts who can help them improve their programs and evaluate and document the programs' effectiveness, said Renee Wilson-Brewer, the associate director of the Center for Health Promotion and Education at the center and the network's director.

"What we're really trying to do is bridge the gap between research and practice,'' she said.

New Center in Colorado

A $600,000 grant to the University of Colorado Foundation will finance the creation of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado at Boulder's Institute of Behavioral Science. The center will be the first national clearinghouse and research group devoted to this field, officials said. It will give technical assistance on evaluation to the network and collect data for the media group.

The Tides Foundation in San Francisco is using its $675,000 grant to start an organization called Mediascope in Studio City, Calif. The office will run workshops, seminars, and conferences designed to persuade writers, producers, and studio executives to portray the consequences of violence as well as nonviolent ways to resolve conflict, said Marcy Kelly, Mediascope's executive director.

While each of the three grants is for just two years, Carnegie "certainly has a commitment to help'' beyond that if the programs are successful, said Ms. Nightingale.

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