Council Makes $1.37 Million Investment in Summer Youth and Violence Prevention Grants
Second Disbursement from the Reimagining Safety Fund Focuses on Life Skills Development, Employment and Anti-Violence Efforts
[COLUMBUS, OH] Columbus City Council continues to advance its commitment to reimagining safety with violence prevention grants through the passage of ordinance 1008-2021. This ordinance adds $1.371 million to expand summer youth safety initiatives with churches and neighborhood organizations. The legislation funds nonprofit youth programming and anti-violence efforts, including leadership development, entrepreneurship, life skills training and job placement. This is the second allocation from the $10 million Reimagine Safety Fund (RSF), bringing the total 2021 allocation to nearly $3 million.
"This is an unprecedented time in our City," said Council President Shannon G. Hardin. "The weight of racial justice, the pandemic and economic despair is affecting our kids and is being translated into violence. These grassroots organizations have been supporting youth in our city for years."
In March of 2021, Council announced grant opportunities for violence intervention strategies focused on kids and teens for this summer. Ten agencies were selected.
- Urban Scouts: $200,000
- Legacy Youth Sports League: $200,000
- Africentric Personal Development Shop: $170,000
- Community of Caring Development Foundation and St. Stephen’s Community House: $135,000
- Community Development for All People: $90,000
- Marion-Franklin Civic Association: $50,000
- Columbus Urban League: $200,000
- Community for New Direction: $170,000
- Martin de Porres Center: $131,000
- Highland Youth Garden: $25,000
"Youth violence is on the rise, and there is no single solution," Hardin continued. "But one critical piece is giving youth engaging, enriching opportunities to learn, grow and earn this summer. As a community, we must help them see beyond their present situations."
Each organization will offer targeted programming to support the personal development, stability and long-term success of young people in Columbus.
"We are excited and grateful for this opportunity to serve the youth in Columbus, Ohio," said Miguel Tucker, CEO and founder of Remember Us Urban Scouts. "Remember Us Urban Scouts is an urban youth development organization dedicated to providing skill sets to urban youth to empower and prepare them for ownership and higher-level management. Our programs and activities work as a catalyst to helping community members fulfill goals and make lifelong achievements."
The funds will support Urban Scouts' Entrepreneurship Training program. It exposes youth to entrepreneurship, mental health awareness, life skills, and various other culturally relevant programming. They learn how to reinvest in their neighborhood by conducting community clean-ups, registering residents to vote and providing free lawn maintenance. Participants can earn up to $2250 in the program with $150 - $250 weekly stipends.
The Martin de Porres Center received $131,000 in funding for the Rising Youth program. The coaching and mentoring program designed for teens by teens to help youth recognize, foster and choose safe relationships that help reduce violence. It will serve primarily Latinx youth between ages 13- 18.
"The Martin de Porres Center is so blessed to receive support from the City of Columbus for our anti-violence program," said Program Director Yahaira Rose. "We hope to be able to share our message of peace and courage to many local teens during this summer's programming. By building self-confidence, essential life skills and teaching conflict resolution, we hope that we can inspire more teens and their families to dare to live in peace. "Helping young people craft and communicate a narrative of possibility about their lives is a critical motivator for authentic change."
With more than $7 million remaining in the RSF, Council intends to focus its work on establishing alternative crisis response models, investing in accountability and a better Division of Police and investing in violence prevention