After being a part of efforts to reduce violence in Providence for 15 years, Teny Gross says it’s time to take on a new challenge.
Gross established and led the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence after being recruited from Boston. The organization has been credited with helping reduce bloodshed in poor city neighborhoods. Gross helped create the institute's non-violence education model, including the "street worker" program, which sends former offenders back onto the streets to mediate conflicts and help prevent violence.
Gross is departing to set up a similar nonviolence program in Chicago.
“It’s setting up a nonprofit that will have the core really is non-violence and focusing on just a few neighborhoods, not the whole city,” said Gross.
As he leaves for Illinois, Gross says the Providence institute remains focused on its mission.
“Here, I feel that people know how to do it now,” said Gross. “Hopefully, they will be strengthened, and we get more resources to do the work here in Rhode Island, but I think for me, maybe it’s the right time.”
Gross says attracting political and business support for nonviolence programs remains a mixed bag. He says that’s due in part to the difficulty of documenting crimes that have been prevented.
Gross says he plans to keep his home in Rhode Island. Chief operating officer PJ Fox will take over duties as acting executive director. The Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence was established in 2001.
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