CROWN HEIGHTS — The Crown Heights Mediation Center, a neighborhood anti-violence organization, is looking for a few good peacemakers.
The center, which runs Save Our Streets (S.O.S.) Crown Heights and S.O.S. Bed-Stuy, is looking to hire outreach workers and “violence interrupters” — workers who go out on the street at night to diffuse violent conflicts before they begin, said program manager Allen James.
James said the groups are looking for “young people who have lived that life” — including those who may have been in a gang or had brushes with the law — as long as candidates have “taken things in a different direction” and want to help others do the same.
“People who have had criminal involvement or a criminal conviction are not ineligible,” James said. “We encourage people who have that to apply.”
Outreach workers, who earn in the low to mid-$30,000s for the full time job, will also work directly with the community by mentoring high-risk young people and leading conflict mediation sessions, he said.
Both jobs share a common goal with the S.O.S. program — to reduce gun violence, specifically in a 40-square-block “catchment” area from Atlantic Avenue to Eastern Parkway between Kingston and Utica avenues.
The violence interrupter job is part-time and ranges in pay between $17,000 to $18,000 with workers taking six-hour shifts five nights a week, James said.
James said the organization has already received hundreds of applicants, some from people with accomplished careers in law enforcement or non-profit work. But S.O.S. is looking for someone local who really understands the neighborhood, he said.
“People do not understand that this is community based,” he said. ‘We’re looking for a very unique set of people with very unique experiences.”