Mayor Stoney announces gun violence prevention program targeting Richmond middle schoolers

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Mayor Levar Stoney announced the City of Richmond is launching a new gun violence prevention program focusing on middle school students.

Stoney said the city has received a $500,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services for the program, which is about violence prevention and intervention.

He said the program will focus on students from Martin Luther King Jr. and River City Middle School who have witnessed gun violence or have a sibling who has committed violence.

Cohorts will be made up of groups of eight to 10 students who will be supported by two adults — a supervisor from parks and recreation to serve as a mentor, and a behavioral or mental health expert. In addition, each child will receive a stipend for participating.

“Together with our partners, we’re going to wrap our arms around these children and shepherd them through some of the most formative times in their life,” Stoney said. “We’re going to provide supports both in school and during those integral hours immediately after school. We’re going to give them the support they need to steer clear of gun violence.”

Mayor Stoney said the program will help 40 students, focusing on depth of service rather than breadth of service.

“Meaning we want to do the most for these highest need kids the best we can,” Stoney said.

He added no child will be dismissed from the program unless they asked to leave.

“We aren’t kicking any children out,” he said.

An announcment from the city said the program’s acitivies will be designed by Parks and Rec. The city’s Department of Justice Services will also offer its expertise in violence prevetion and invervetion.

The program is poised to roll out in October.

You can watch the full presser below:

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