Halloween Tragedy Results in Global Youth Activism and Ignitus Worldwide

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Youth Crime Watch of America (YCWA) was launched thirty years ago after a 12-year-old girl was raped on Halloween night. The successful youth-led organization, which has empowered teens on five continents, is rebranding as Ignitus Worldwide. The new brand and mission, chosen by the youth, will update the successful YCWA safety component and expand the mission to include substance abuse, green efforts, and youth civic involvement.

Youth Crime Watch of America (YCWA), an anti-crime youth-led organization, has renamed the organization Ignitus Worldwide. “Since its inception thirty years ago, this organization has focused on mobilizing youth, giving them a voice and empowering them in their own communities,” stated Chris DiCarlo, the Ignitus Worldwide CEO. “We want to continue this effort, broadening it to acknowledge the needs and abilities of today’s youth,” he added.

The change is in response to input from YCWA youth and adult leaders. DiCarlo pointed out that as times change youth’s interests and needs do, too. Those needs, coupled with the fact that YCWA has grown into more than twenty countries on five continents, required that the organization take a fresh look at its mission and branding. The YCWA anti-crime effort will remain one of several key components offered to youth. Other new components will include leadership development, substance abuse prevention, peer mentoring, green efforts, and civic engagement.

The Ignitus name and mission (to organize and support a youth-led movement that promotes civic engagement throughout the world) were crafted with youth input. Youth will also be involved in developing Ignitus policy through the Next Generation Board where they will have a voice in programming and helping to spearhead the group’s social media communications. “We are confident that our evolution into Ignitus Worldwide will allow us to achieve even greater heights as we apply our youth-led programming to even more areas across the service learning spectrum,” remarked DiCarlo.

Youth Crime Watch of America was launched in 1979 as an outgrowth of Citizens Crime Watch of Miami-Dade County, Florida. The mission grew in response to an outraged neighborhood coming together against injustice, following the rape of a 12-year old girl on Halloween night. In the first year, students pinpointed drug pushers which helped to reduce their school's drug problem by more than 50% and cut chain snatchings, a then prevalent problem, by 75%. Since that time, YCWA teen-led efforts have proven effective in pre-empting school shootings, teen suicides, bullying, and similar crime situations.

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Chris DiCarlo
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