“Ultimately the Institute keeping their doors and their resources open to me led me to become an Outreach Worker.”
Rashad McDevitt has been connected with the Nonviolence Institute in some way or another since his high school days. In his own words, he was “really fighting a lot,” both on the Mount Pleasant campus and around the city. The Nonviolence Institute's outreach workers, at that time, would try to deescalate fights while patrolling Kennedy Plaza or school dismissals, and eventually forged a connection with Rashad.
Similar to many of the youth that our Intervention Team interacts with, they saw potential in Rashad that he may not have seen himself. After graduating high school, he enrolled in "Let’s Make This Work," a soft skills and employment assistance program operating out of the Nonviolence Institute’s first floor.
Despite this, Rashad ended up going to prison in 2017 and rather than that being the end of his relationship with NVI, his incarceration allowed for a new beginning. While in prison, Rashad realized that he wanted to make changes, and that continuing down the path he was currently on would lead to further incarceration or injury. NVI reached out to him with support letters for the parole board and helped connect him to employment assistance programs upon his release. The NVI connected Rashad with a welding certificate program and other employment opportunities, but Rashad's ultimate goal was to give back to the community in the way that the Institute had provided for him, and in 2021 he applied to become an Outreach Worker.
Rashad has now been working at NVI for the past year. He attends the same school dismissals and recreation centers where he connected with us years ago, but now as a helping hand for the youth who are in a similar position as he once was a few years back. His approachable nature and easygoing personality makes him a trusted messenger of nonviolence to youth who may feel like they are running out of options, or never had any to begin with.
Rashad also works as a football coach for the Central Falls Panthers and a flag football travel team. We are proud of all that Rashad has accomplished in his life and honored that he chooses to share his considerable talent with us.
Thank you for all you do, Rashad!
Additionally, if you'd like to refer a student to our SEED program, a nonviolence-focused job training program with a stipend available for Providence residents, learn more here.
Funding for the SEED program is being provided by the ARPA City of Providence Anti-Violence Investment.