JCCGCI’s Operation H.O.O.D Program

Featured in New York Jewish Week Article

Operation H.O.O.D. (Helping Our Own Develop) is an Anti-Violence program utilizing the “Cure Violence” model and a project of Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island (JCCGCI), a community-based organization with a citywide scope.
Derick Latif Scott, an accomplished and highly respected professional in the field of gun-violence prevention, serves as JCCGCI’s Program Director of Operation H.O.O.D.
Operation H.O.O.D.:
  • Mediates conflicts and disputes on the spot in the streets
  • Works to prevent retaliations after violence has occurred
  • Mentors and counsels the most at-risk young people in the community
  • Works to empower neighborhood residents to address the problem of violence
  • Organizes residents for a peaceful street response to any shooting that occurs in the target area.
JCCGCI is grateful to the New York Jewish Week and its skilled reporter Julia Gregely for recognizing the value of Operation H.O.O.D. and sharing impressions in the following feature article.
The article is reprinted below in its entirety. It was originally published by The New York Jewish Week on August 1, 2022. Click here to view it on the site.

With help from a Jewish agency, a Coney Island program fights street violence one kid at a time

On a recent afternoon at the headquarters of Operation H.O.O.D. in Coney Island, just hours before three to four dozen teenagers are due to roll through the building for an afternoon full of activities, the four staff members discuss what they have planned.
They make sure the dumbbells and exercise machines in the weight room are organized and working, the Xboxes are turned on, the pool table is racked and the art supplies are out.
Derick Latif Scott, the program director, is busy scheduling the programming events through the rest of the year, which include basketball tournaments, Secret Santa giveaways and pop-up cookouts. He is also fielding calls from the 60th Police Precinct and a State Assembly member who are asking for information about a shooting that happened near the Coney Island Boardwalk the night before.
Operation H.O.O.D., which stands for Helping Our Own Develop, is part of the city’s Cure Violence initiative — a method of treating gun violence as a public health issue. Piloted by Jewish epidemiologist Gary Slutkin in Chicago in the early 2000s, the approach treats street violence as a disease needing to be interrupted and prevented.
At their new 3,000-square-foot headquarters and walk-in center on Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island, local kids and teenagers can come after school and on the weekends to keep busy and stay safe.
“They really believe it is a safe haven in the neighborhood,” staff member Howard Ayers, who is known as “Papa Bear” by the kids, told the New York Jewish Week.