A New NYC Opportunity Study of Credible Messengers
The use of credible messengers has been increasing nationwide. Not long after taking office, Mayor Eric Adams announced that the City is expanding its use of credible messengers, and that every person on probation who is 21 or under will be partnered with a credible messenger. The credible messenger approach was also cited by President Biden as a powerful tool to strengthen communities through addressing the root causes of crime before it happens.
Credible Messengers are a proven approach to helping people with legal system involvement to modify their behaviors and help to strengthen disadvantaged communities. Credible messengers share lived experiences, in many cases including contact with the legal system, with the young people they work with. They help others to navigate many of the same institutions and challenges they themselves have dealt with.
Our new study, which was done in partnership with the Urban Institute, identifies best practices, common challenges, and actionable recommendations that can inform credible messenger programs going forward. The study used community-engaged participatory research strategies that included hiring credible messengers as part of the Urban Institute’s research team to amplify the voices of individuals and communities with lived experience. Using participatory methods such as these is one of the ways that NYC Opportunity’s Programs and Evaluation team — and the office as a whole — is working to center equity driven practices in our work.
The Urban Institute has convened a webinar and released a factsheet on the purpose, activities, methods, findings, and accompanying recommendations of our study of credible messengers, NYCs Wounded Healers: A Cross-Program, Participatory Action Research (PAR) Study of Credible Messengers. The study itself will be released in the next few weeks.
You can learn more about the study, and access a recording of the webinar and the factsheet, here.