Intervention, Prevention & Education

Reducing youth violence and counteracting the appeal of gang membership in Northern Virginia

Gangs spread crime and recruit vulnerable youth in neighborhoods across the United States, including Northern Virginia. They can appear to offer vulnerable youth very tangible “benefits”: identity, family and a place to go where “everyone knows your name.” Unfortunately, what can at first seem great to recruits and members is destructive to neighborhoods and communities as well as to the individual.

NVFS’ Intervention, Prevention and Education (IPE) program reduces youth violence and counteracts the appeal of gang membership in Northern Virginia among youth ages 10 to 21. IPE helps youth who are vulnerable to recruitment by gangs develop the skills to resist joining and have their needs met in healthy ways. It also equips their parents and community members with strategies to provide effective support and structure.

Through intervention, IPE helps young people decrease and ultimately eliminate being part of a gang. Through prevention and education, youth at risk for gang involvement are redirected to more positive pursuits.


IPE seeks to intervene in the lives of young people who are either gang members or at risk of becoming so. It addresses the issues in a young person’s life that make him or her vulnerable: poor school achievement or involvement, feeling alienated from family and community, and involvement with negative peers.


IPE connects youth with positive environments and activities. Since the allure of belonging to a group can be a gang’s most powerful selling point, helping vulnerable youth find those positive activities and connections is a critical task. Counselors help with academics, social involvement and setting goals for a future.


IPE involves not only the young person, but parents, guardians and family members as well. It equips the young person to find alternatives to destructive behaviors and tendencies, and helps parents and guardians improve and practice supportive, beneficial responses. It gives the family ways to respond constructively to various situations, and increases community awareness of gangs and how to effectively support youth to make positive choices.

What does IPE offer?

  • Outreach and Education
  • Individual and Family Services

How does IPE help parents?

  • Case management support and referral
  • Gang awareness education
  • Teaching effective parenting skills
  • Teaching positive reinforcement skills
  • Strengthening parent-child relationships

What’s the cost and how do I refer someone?

  • The program is free to eligible youth and their families.
  • Contact the IPE Program Manager for more information, and submit or download the referral form.

Who is eligible?

  • Any youth between the ages of 10 and 21 who is either at risk of becoming or is currently gang-involved and who lives in one of the following jurisdictions: Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Loudoun, or Prince William
  • That person’s family

Reduced Gang Involvement
of gang-involved IPE clients reduce their involvement and activity

Academic Success
of youth clients maintained or improved their grades

of IPE clients at risk for gang involvement, but not already involved, remained non-gang-involved

Our Stories

Youth Development
Alex and Manuel |

NVFS youth groups offer more than psycho-education and a supportive network. They offer teens experiences and opportunities that they may not have had otherwise, whether it’s the opportunity to foster friendships or to have an adult male role model whom they can finally count on.

Read more >
Cesar, NVFS Youth Initiatives client
Family Reunification
Cesar |

When Cesar was 14 years old, he came to the United States hoping for a brighter future and the opportunity to pursue his dreams. But he immediately came head-to-head with various obstacles, such as a language barrier, adjusting to a new climate and becoming acquainted with a new community.

Read more >
Youth Development
Mario |

Mario was struggling with school and getting into trouble in his neighborhood. His mother wasn’t sure where to turn, so his school counselor contacted NVFS’ Intervention, Prevention & Education (IPE) program.

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Family Reunification
Lydia |

Lydia came to the United States to reconnect with her mother after being apart for five years. Through NVFS’ family reunification program, she was able to not only rebuild that relationship, but prepare herself for a brighter future.

Read more >