Established 2003 | 501C3
Are you a gun violence program like: SNUG, Cease Fire, Man Up, GMACC and Street Corner Resources etc.
No, we are not. Each of those (from what I know) are great programs and are doing great work in the communities that they serve. We have actually referred clients to those other programs when they [clients] contact us and their needs fall outside of the scope of what we do.
OK, what is it that you actually do?
GRAAFICS is a four tier, social emotional, culturally responsive, trauma informed, intervention and prevention program. As an approved vendor to public schools around the nation, we offer individual and cohort run, multi-dimensional services in forums where students are able to receive between 1 and 2 credits towards graduation.
How are you funded, through elected officials and grants?
No. From 2003 to date, GRAAFICS has not received a single penny of funding from City, State, Federal government; elected officials and/or any foundation. From 2003 to date, my yearly income tax ledgers will confirm GRAAFICS being financially supported via my personal funds.
Why do those other programs get tens of millions in funding and you get nothing when it looks like GRAAFICS is doing more?
Well, I wouldn't say that we are doing more. I will say that we are very different. Most gun violence organizations are responsive, this means they do their work after someone has been shot. GRAAFICS is a prevention program; this means we focus on preventing the shooting from occurring. Traditionally, most gun violence programs are funded and operate exclusively from either the Cure Violence or the Cease Fire model. Additionally, most gun violence programs are focused exclusively on responding to incidents. GRAAFICS is a gang diversion program, a reentry program and an absent fathers program woven into one. Our model incorporates a four tier social emotional, culturally responsive, trauma informed, approach that offers evidence based behavior redirection and life skills services. In the early 2000's when the theory of approaching gun violence the way we approach a contagious epidemic was introduced, leading the charge were two gentlemen that have dedicated their lives to understanding gun violence. Epidemiologist: Dr. Gary Slutkin and Criminologist: David Kennedy. As the both models made their way through the nation, I was incarcerated. With access to the law library and legal correspondence, I took interest in the both models because they were bold, new 'outside-of-the-box' approaches to gun violence. To addressing gun violence the same way we would approach tuberculosis? I got the concept immediately! However, I was in prison with limited access to everything. I studied anything that I could get related to this concept. The more I read, the more I thought, the more I wrote. Reflecting on my own personal experience as a drug dealer, drug trafficker, gun dealer, gun trafficker and shooter I could relate. As I read, I identified areas of both models that I felt were inconsistent. I began to journal my own ideas around approaching gun violence from the lens of a shooter. Using my own experience and the experiences of the men incarcerated around me, convicted for gun violent crimes, my interest took on a life of its own. Today, those ideas are: The GRAAFICS Program.
So, those other programs are your competition?
No. It's that exact thought process that essentially contributes to the increase in gun violence. When programs have to fight for funding, it creates silos. When silos are created they stop production. GRAAFICS has a 20yr history of unique consistency.
So, you work primarily in schools?
Yes. Although we do have a small violence interruption street team, the scope of our work is within schools with grades K thru 12.
Do you work with elementary school aged children?
Yes. From 2003 thru 2014 our primary focus was middle school and high school aged children. However, we were repeatedly asked to work with elementary school aged children. We were hesitant, due to not being educationally and professionally equipped to work with such a fragile population. In 2021, I hired a full clinical team and a host of other healthcare professionals to support any partnership with schools that service children in grades K thru 12.
Your website mentions a syllabus and a curriculum. You offer a wide variety of programs, trainings and courses for both students and professionals. So, do you actually have a curriculum and who wrote it?
Yes, we do have a curriculum. When we partner with schools, each student receives a text book and a workbook that they use to follow along with day-to-day instructions. To answer the second part of your question, I wrote the curriculum; inclusive of the teachers manual, students text book, student workbook and all of the visual aides that support instruction.
Does the Syllabus apply only to the Absent Father/Gang Member/Formerly Incarcerated Population?
No! If carefully reviewed, each reader will discover a variety of topics that are applicable to most situations. There are courses that are designed primarily for staff, as well as courses that are designed for community members and parents. This is the beauty of customized services. There is no area that is out dated or that does not apply to a particular population. Each course (with the help of your staff) can be tailored to fit.
Lets say a child is NOT in a school where GRAAFICS is located. Do you provide personal one-on-one services?
YES! Personal one-on-one mentoring and life coaching services are available. However, they may come at a cost. Please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
Lets say a person working at an agency is interested in working with you, how much space is needed?
The amount of space has to accommodate the attendance capacity. However, generally, a room that can accommodate 25 students.
Lets say an agency wants to partner with you but does not have much money. Are discounts available? Also, what supplies are needed?
Yes, discounts are available. Please contact us for details. We offer generous discounts as our primary focus isn’t making a profit, it’s changing the lives of people in need. Standard presentation tools and supplies are: microphone and sound system (depending on the size of the audience), Three to four 24in X 36in ‘Post It’ easel pads, markers and access to a photocopier. These are standard supplies. However, when customizing a course to accommodate a particular population additional items may be needed in order to maximize client impact.
What are the benefits of using your service versus our current methods?
Customers will witness an almost instant increase in attendance, a decrease in incidents and an increase in grades. A downward spike in attendance and/or participation is one of the classic, yet blatantly ignored signs of a failing program. However, when attendance increases, this is a clear indicator that young adults are ‘interested’ in exploring entry level change. If entry level follow up services does not mirror their initial reason for participation (the presentation), clients will only lose interest again, resulting in repeated compliance failures.
How do people know that your company is as good as you say you are?
Well, that's very simple. Those in disbelief should request a FREE demonstration. We will assign a representative to come to your school, program or organization. That representative will assess your population and design a cost-free sample presentation. Once complete, come to your own conclusion.
Lets say that a school has a population that may be considered the absolute worst and listen to anyone. Why will that population respond to GRAAFICS?
In 2006 Will & Jaden Smith appeared in the award winning film 'The Pursuit of Happyness'. One of the more talked about scenes is the part where he and his son were homeless. He had again, been denied an opportunity. His son asked why? He said "Always remember, people will want you to believe that you can't do something just because they can't do it."
What does it take to get started?
School leaders must have an unwavering commitment to change. If you have something that's currently not working, start the process to change it. If you have no current system, start the process to build one.
Like every quality system, building a effective and efficient school based behavior redirection system is a lengthily process. To get started with us, you should do these two things: Step One: Have an absolute commitment to change. Step Two: Contact us.
Lastly, you are recognized as Dr. Kai. People call you Dr. Kai. Google recognizes you as Dr. Kai Smith. Are you a doctor?
(Laughing) While I thank everyone (and especially Google) for the recognition, the short answer to the question is: 'No, I am not a doctor yet." However, I would like to offer some additional clarity. Like : Dr. J and Dr. Seuss and Dr. Scholl's and Dr. Pepper, Dr. Kai is the name given to me by my former students (now employed graduates) as a term of endearment. One day in class the topic was continued education. While motivating my students to dig deeper, push harder and never quit, one of them said "Mr. Smith, you're telling us to never quit but why did YOU quit?" At that particular time I had (in fact) placed the continuation of my own education on pause to spend more time growing GRAAFICS. I said to the class "Well, the only thing for ME to do is secure the PhD". That same student said "Well, since you're telling us to envision, act as if and carry ourselves with the dignity as if we already have our degrees, you should do the same. So, as of today, we're going to call you Dr. Kai Smith (Dr. Kai for short) and every time you hear someone call you Dr. Kai that should remind you of the same thing you're telling us- Never quit!." So, in that class, on that day, with those students is where Dr. Kai was born. I've had it ever since.
Don't you already have several college degrees and are you pursuing a doctoral degree?
Yes. After I came home from prison (in 2002) I secured:
and I am pursing a JD/PhD in Public Health. A JD/PhD is a dual degree. Once completed, I will (hopefully) pass the bar exam and will thereafter officially be Dr. Kai in addition to also being a practicing attorney.
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