Broader Urban Involvement and Leadership Development

Prevention; Ages 13–14


(Read the criteria for this rating)
  • Effective gang program


Project BUILD (Broader Urban Involvement and Leadership Development; now the BUILD Violence Intervention Curriculum) is a curriculum designed to help youth in detention overcome problems they may face in their communities, such as gangs, crime, and drugs. BUILD staff provide counseling, community education, and work-readiness training through four major approaches:

  • The Prevention Program is a 10-week, in-school program aimed at preventing youths from drug use and gang life.
  • The Intervention Program solicits gang members from the street for participation in recreational activities and offers them drug abuse education, referrals, and counseling.
  • The Community Resource Development Program involves adults who volunteer to develop mentoring relationships with gang members and to develop strong community bonds and retard gang development.
  • The Rehabilitation Program intervenes with adjudicated youth in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center to reduce recidivism.

An earlier version of this program consisted of an anti-gang curriculum that was taught to eighth-grade students in Chicago middle schools located in lower- and lower-middle-class areas with high levels of gang activity. Following completion of the curriculum component, youth from the classrooms considered to be at high risk for joining gangs were invited to participate in an after-school program. It provided recreational activities, job skills training workshops, educational assistance programs, and social activities. At-risk youth were identified by teachers and project staff using gang rosters compiled by detached street-gang workers on the basis of interviews with gang members. The program targeted both males and females who were detained at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago, Illinois, and who were enrolled in the school on the premises.

The evaluation study conducted by Lurigio and colleagues (2000) found that youths who participated in Project BUILD had significantly lower rates of recidivism compared to non–Project BUILD youths. Among those students who participated in Project BUILD, 33% returned to detention within a year, compared with 57% of non–Project BUILD youths.

Risk Factors

Exposure to firearm violence
Few social ties (involved in social activities, popularity)
High alcohol/drug use
High drug dealing
Illegal gun ownership/carrying
Physical violence/aggression
Violent victimization
Delinquent siblings
Family violence (child maltreatment, partner violence, conflict)
Poor parental supervision (control, monitoring, and child management)
Frequent truancy/absences/suspensions; expelled from school; dropping out of school
Low school attachment/bonding/motivation/commitment to school
Poor school attitude/performance; academic failure
Association with antisocial/aggressive/delinquent peers; high peer delinquency
Association with gang-involved peers/relatives
Gang membership
Peer alcohol/drug use


Effective program:, Model Program Guide, National Gang Center


Adam M. Alonso
Executive Director
5100 W. Harrison Street
Chicago, IL 60644
Phone: (773) 227-2880


Lurigio, A. J., Bensinger, G. D., and Thompson, S. R. (2000). A process and outcome evaluation of Project BUILD: Years 5 and 6. Unpublished Report. Chicago: Loyola University.

Thompson, D. W., and Jason, L. A. (1988). Street Gangs and Preventive Interventions. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 15:323–333.

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