Freddy Barton, executive director of Safe and Sound Hillsborough, a community-based intervention program intended to prevent violence in Hillsborough County joined WaveMakers on April 19.
Safe and Sound Hillsborough was founded in 2013 after the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Originally a think tank project, the group works to identify the root causes of violence and take measures to prevent it from happening. This is done through professional services, as well as community outreach from person to person.
Among the roots that can lead to violent outbursts and crime: poor and dilapidated infrastructure, lack of access to mental health, and overall stability of the family and community units. And among the main issues that Safe and Sound is focused on in the community: gun violence.
Across the country, gun violence has seen a significant rise since the start of the pandemic. To combat this, Safe and Sound has partnered with county commissioner Gwen Myers and the public defender’s office to engage parents and children in conversations about gun safety and broadcast PSAs throughout the county.
However, traveling further to the roots of the violence, mental health treatment and advocacy is also a major component. Safe and Sound has worked with law enforcement to promote a co-response model of answering calls, where both police and social workers answer calls in potential mental health cases. In addition, resources for members of the community to understand signs of mental distress and help their peers have been made available.
Other topics of interest that Safe and Sound works within the community are financial literacy, youth intervention programs, and providing male role models for young men.
For more information on Safe and Sound, visit safeandsoundhillsborough.org