Gun violence is about to surpass vehicle accidents as the leading cause of death for young people ages 14-24. As a society, we spend more on gun violence than on obesity and almost as much as Medicaid.


Americans die from gun violence every month, the majority are victims of street violence.

In cities like Boston, just a few hundred youth generate more than half of all gun violence. 

1% of



50% of gun


While the problem seems insurmountable, by reaching a relatively small number of high impact young people, we can dramatically influence the system.



For decades, the response has been largely a containment strategy, where disenfranchised young people of color are locked up only to later be released in a more vulnerable position, with fewer resources, and less hope.


Despite the massive increase in the size and cost of America’s correctional system, the national recidivism rate and associated costs remain high and are increasing each year.

Nationwide, the USA spends over 80 billion dollars a year locking people up. When we factor in the social costs, the annual expense grows to over 1 trillion dollars.

Direct cost to house just one inmate in Massachusetts.



67% of former inmates are re-arrested for a new crime within 3 years of being released.


Society tends to punish our target students as “bad decision makers,” or write them off as “lacking care.”


What if they are making decisions based on the logic of their circumstances? What if it is not lack of care, but rather a lack of hope for an alternative path?

At ICW, we have figured out how to reduce street violence and incarceration rates by fostering social inclusion and promoting economic mobility. 

Our students learn a valuable skillset, meet clients from opposite socioeconomic backgrounds, and build an invaluable network, all while making a stable living.



 Stage I is focused on building strong relationships between students and staff. Growth at ICW is contingent on trust. ICW staff practice an unwavering commitment to students through deliberate and resilient outreach, finding opportunities for genuine connection through weight training or recreational activities.

At this stage, we measure:

  • The number of interactions between staff and students

  • Requests for help by students

  • Student visits to an ICW facility

  • Completion of intake & assessment forms




Stage II is focused on building students’ hope for an alternative path. Most of our students who come to ICW have a 6 month outlook of death or jail. Together with staff, students identify new goals and begin taking advantage of ICW’s many services, including working toward their ICW training certification.

At this stage, we measure:

  • Students' progress on the ICW certification

  • Students' progress on Individual Advancement Plans


Social Capital

During Stage III, students form relationships with clients from opposite socioeconomic backgrounds, bridging social capital,  and creating a dynamic support network. We have learned that street violence is grounded in racial segregation and opportunity isolation. Stage III addresses this phenomenon directly. 

At this stage, we measure:

  • How many new network connections students can leverage

  • Number of external job placements for students, including wage level

  • We also measure examples of advocacy from the network


Economic Mobility

In Stage IV, students from household incomes of less than $10k/year begin to make a sustainable wage, whether through personal training or some other industry. Most of our students are accustomed to meeting their financial needs in the streets. By reaching Stage IV, students no longer have to rely on destructive methods of earning a living.

At this stage, we measure:

  • Students earning an income of $30,000 or more through training

  • Students earning an income of $30,000 or more through an alternative career