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Allegheny County Violence Prevention Program, One Vision One Life, Ranked Among World’s Best

The content below may contain dated material as it was prepared for the media in advance of Pittsburgh’s hosting of the G20 in March 2010.  

In 2003, Allegheny County recorded 125 homicides, the highest homicide rate in over a decade. It was at this time that community leaders came together to start the Allegheny County Violence Prevention Initiative, later named One Vision One Life.

The goals of One Vision One Life are to prevent targeted violence and provide at-risk youth with opportunities for a better way of life. This is accomplished by: (1) identifying, training, and developing a team of Community Coordinators who will be active in, and informed about, their communities; (2) systematically collecting and utilizing street-level intelligence to intervene in disputes, turf battles, gang/group incidents before they become shootings and homicides; (3) reaching out to those at risk for violence with services, jobs, and assistance – so they are no longer at risk for violence; and, (4) intensively documenting and evaluating our efforts.

One Vision One Life employs approximately 20 Community Coordinators and three Area Managers, in addition to the Director and an Analyst/Evaluation Coordinator to achieve this mission.

In the fall of 2004, h, the magazine of the Heinz Endowments, did an in-depth interview with OVOL founder and Director, Richard Garland. One Life at a Time, provides an early examination of the hopes and challenges associated with intervening in street violence, in some of the most at-risk neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, before it escalates to homicide.

Research and data analysis was conducted in 2008 to provide a profile of community violence in Allegheny County and to understand the relationship between DHS consumers and violence better. DHS and the University of Pittsburgh Medical School, Department of Family Medicine contributed to the effort.

On March 5, 2008, One Vision One Life received recognition as one of 14 finalists in a global competition, “Young Men at Risk: Transforming the Power of a Generation.” Nominated programs were required to offer new ways to help the next generation of men reach their highest potential.  Finalists in the competition were chosen based on their innovation, social impact and sustainability.

In the related DHS: Making an Impact piece, One Vision One Life Community Coordinator, El Gray reveals how OVOL continues to make a difference in his life, and how he, through OVOL, is working to make a difference in the lives of youths on the street.