Taking aim at reducing youth gun violence in Tarrant County, United Way of Tarrant County hired Samuel J. Varner as program director of the One Second Collaborative on June 8. The organization also named members of the collaborative’s community-based steering committee.

The backstory

According to a city of Fort Worth news release, the One Second Collaborative is an evidence-based approach to addressing youth violence that was launched in December. It unites and coordinates community-based organizations that deliver street outreach, education, workforce training, internships, referrals for basic needs and other support to young people and their families.

The news release said United Way of Tarrant County, the Fort Worth Police Department, the city of Fort Worth, Tarrant County and other community stakeholders make up the collaborative. Financial support comes from American Rescue Plan Act funds administered by Tarrant County and Fort Worth.

Quote of note

“I am pleased to see the infrastructure is in place to officially begin program implementation on this important initiative, because we know this is vital to addressing the gun violence impacting Fort Worth youth right now,” Mayor Mattie Parker said. “There are organizations across the county who have been working independently to make a difference, but there is power in numbers. The One Second Collaborative is just that—a unified, proven collaborative approach to address the youth gun violence in our community.”

A closer look

Varner will coordinate training and education, according to the news release. He will work with stakeholders to create impactful partnerships to reduce youth violence.

The One Second Collaborative staff also includes Roger Foggle, a community advocate and experienced violence interrupter, and Christine Kuehn, whose background includes serving as a stay-in-school specialist in the Fort Worth ISD and a juvenile probation officer.

To ensure this collaborative represents the Greater Tarrant County community, the OSC includes a community-based steering committee with members appointed by UWTC, Tarrant County, Fort Worth, the Fort Worth Police Department, local school district leadership, elected Fort Worth council members and Tarrant County commissioners, and designated community-based organizations, according to the news release. The committee held its first meeting at the end of April.

“There are a lot of organizations across Tarrant County that are currently doing the work, just like mine, but it’s nice to come together as a whole to be a united front to truly impact Tarrant County as One Second Collaborative,” said Kimeeka Holmes, an OSC committee member and the program director for Communities in Schools of Greater Tarrant County.

Members of the steering committee include:
  • Fort Worth PD: Robert Alldredge Sr.
  • Tarrant County: Roderick Miles
  • Tarrant County: Yvette Wingate
  • Fort Worth: Carlos Flores
  • Fort Worth: Jared Williams
  • UWTC: Leah M. King
  • UWTC: Mike Heiskell
  • Crowley ISD: Dr. Michael McFarland
  • Fort Worth ISD: Dr. Angelica Ramsey
  • Tarrant County Juvenile Services: Bennie Medlin
  • ZIP code 76133 representative: Jarrett Jackson
  • ZIP code 76036 representative: Joe Johnson
  • ZIP code 76010/76011 representative: Sa’Carol Ford
  • ZIP code 76105 representative Lucretia Powell
  • ZIP code 76104 representative: Monica Garrett
  • ZIP code 76116 representative: Patty Pressley
  • ZIP code 76119 representative: Cliff Sparks
  • ZIP code 76112 representative: Iris Nunoz
  • ZIP code 76134 representative: Crystal Allaway
  • Mothers of Murdered Angels: Karen Shaw
  • Lena Pope: Abby Phifer
  • One Safe Place: Michelle Morgan
  • Center for Children’s Health (Cook Children’s): Dr. Dan Guzman
  • Violence, Intervention and Prevention of Fort Worth: Bishop Rodney McIntosh
  • Community Frontline: Dante Williams
  • Communities in Schools: Kimeeka Holmes
  • Strategies to Elevate People of Color: Rickie Clark