Center for American Progress

Debunking CVI Myths: Frontline Workers Are Not Professionals

Debunking CVI Myths: Frontline Workers Are Not Professionals

In this video, community violence intervention leaders Juan Carter, Melvyn Hayward, and Susan Lee push back on common misconceptions about frontline workers and discuss the unique expertise required to do this lifesaving work effectively.

Part of a Series

Community violence intervention (CVI) programs often rely on individuals from the very communities they serve to deliver core program services, such as outreach, case management, and transformational mentoring. These frontline workers have hyperlocal community knowledge and lived experiences that lend to their credibility, enabling them to reach individuals that police or other public safety workers can’t. Being a CVI worker on the frontlines is a difficult and dangerous job. This growing workforce must be properly trained, and their professional development needs invested in, to ensure their safety and get the best results.

In this video, Juan Carter, outreach manager at the Giffords Center for Violence Intervention; Melvyn Hayward, chief program officer at Chicago CRED; and Susan Lee, chief of strategy and policy at Chicago CRED, describe the unique value frontline workers bring to the field and why greater investments in this workforce can unlock their potential to be even more impactful.

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Chandler Hall

Senior Policy Analyst

Nick Wilson

Senior Director, Gun Violence Prevention

Arnitta R. Holliman

Director, Gun Violence Prevention


Hai-Lam Phan

Senior Director, Creative

Matthew Gossage

Events Video Producer

Toni Pandolfo

Video Producer, Production


Gun Violence Prevention

Our goal is to reduce gun violence by enacting strong gun laws, increasing investment in local solutions, and growing the movement dedicated to this mission.

Explore The Series

Photo shows a young man lighting a candle in the late evening

In America, gunshots rattle communities every 11 minutes. Amid this cycle of tragedy, community violence intervention (CVI) programs are addressing the root causes of violence to end cycles before they can start.

Through collaboration with residents and government officials, CVI programs curb the spread of gun violence by meeting community members where they are and responding to their individual needs. In violence-affected neighborhoods, residents are grappling with trauma and long-standing hardships that fuel the rise in shootings. But CVI programs channel resources back into the community, improving access to needed resources such as education, employment, housing, and health care.

In a nation haunted by the daily occurrence of gun violence, CVI programs provide a path forward—toward healing, unity, and a safer future for everyone.

This series highlights resources on CVI programs and stories from the voices of change on the front lines of America’s gun violence epidemic. These narratives are a reminder of the challenges and successes that outline the effort to save more lives.


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