About Make It Happen

Launched in 2012, Make It Happen (MIH) is the gender-specific programming at Neighbors in Action focused on supporting young men who have been overexposed to violence. Through group sessions, MIH clinicians work to make space for positive relationships to be built among young men, which can foster safety and healing. MIH is also attempting to engage traditional victim service providers in conversation on the needs of male victims of crime, with the aim of increasing access to victim services for young men of color who have been harmed.

Group Counseling:

Our Make It Happen groups offer participants a 10 week program on topics such as healthy masculinity and trauma history. Through dialogue about PTSD, abuse in the home, traditional gender roles, and neighborhood/community violence, participants will have an opportunity to learn about their own experiences with trauma. Given social norms constraining emotional processing for many young men, NIA clinicians have a focus on developing emotional awareness and shifting expectations about what kind of emotions are “okay” to feel.


Make It Happen CHAMPS

The MIH Community Healers And Mentors for Personal Success (CHAMPS) are young leaders who have become peer mentors after completing the Make It Happen program. The CHAMPS are trained in group facilitation and work with pre-teens and younger adolescents to engage them in conversations about healthy masculinity, healing, and trust building. Learn more about the CHAMPS from this News12 clip and their very own podcast!


The road to healing and recovery is a long process; at times, young men may need additional support outside of the group setting. MIH staff are able to work with participants when crises take place in their lives. Young men emerging into adulthood need knowledgeable service providers in their corner to help them navigate the obstacles facing them. MIH Advocacy consists of, but is not limited to:

  • Crisis Management:
    • Support participants through interpersonal accountability processes.
    • Interface with systems alongside our participants.
    • Provide mediation and deescalation expertise when needed.
  • Court Cases:  
    • Liaison with assigned court personnel.
    • Provision of letters of support, as needed.
    • Attendance at court and compliance dates.
  • Victim Services:
    • Staff attempt to engage traditional victim service providers in increasing access to victim services for young men of color who have been victimized, including receipt of New York State Office of Victim Services compensation.

Building a Healing Movement

Make It Happen produces research and toolkits, and presents lessons learned through the program to other service providers in order to share knowledge and transform the field of victim services.

Paving the Way Conference

Once a year, Make It Happen convenes community members, victims service providers, and other stakeholders to talk about trauma and healing for young men of color at the Annual “Paving The Way to Healing and Recovery” Conference in Brooklyn, NY.

Healing Justice Alliance

Make It Happen is an Office of Victims of Crime-funded program operating under the Supporting Male Survivors of Violence (SMSV) Initiative. MIH staff work with staff from the other SMSV sites to build a national movement shifting victim services to better meet the needs of young men of color, including at the annual Healing Justice Alliance conference.

Media & Additional Resources

  • Watch News12 Brooklyn coverage of the Make It Happen CHAMPS program below:


For more information, contact:

Shawn Deverteuil, Men’s Empowerment Coordinator deverteuils@neighborsinaction.org