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Youth groups getting $2 million to help fight gun violence

Posted at 12:37 PM, Jul 12, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York State is making $2 million available to help youth groups and programs with gun violence prevention efforts.

The Office of Children and Family Services announced Monday $2 million in grant funding for youth organizations in 17 counties, including Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara. The money is to help these organizations provide positive and productive activities for youth and young adults.

The funds are part of the state's first-in-the-nation gun violence emergency and prevention effort. The new initiative will invest $138 million in projects to support at-risk youth.

"We must seek every opportunity to stem gang activity and street violence that harms our children and families and tears apart the fabric of our communities," said OCFS Commissioner Sheila J. Poole. "We need culturally relevant and locally designed alternatives that attract young people to activities which enrich them while allowing them to understand the positive contributions they can make to their neighborhoods and community. These grants will help spark new strategies based upon the input of youth and trusted community members."

Grants of up to $50,000 each will be administered through county youth bureaus.

Eligible programs include:

  • Sports
  • Visual and spoken word art
  • Civic engagement
  • Restorative justice
  • Youth leadership

Programs like Omega Mentoring could potentially receive state funding. The head of Omega Mentoring says funding for programs is critical.

"This it will give students opportunity to explore and then an then reach new heights and explore things that they were unable to reach before," said Cedric Holloway with Omega Mentoring.

To be eligible, programs must be available at extended hours, on weekends, or at times when gun violence most often occurs. Any organization interested in applying should contact their county youth bureau.