RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The City of Richmond has been awarded $1.9 million from the United States Department of Justice in order to reduce gun violence for its “Youth Shape the Future” program.
The grant comes just a day after a 17-year-old boy was arrested in connection to a shooting in South Richmond that left a 15-year-old boy fighting for his life.
“Young people and their caregivers need positive development activities and productive learning environments,” Mayor Levar Stoney said. “This major investment will enhance the reach of our Gun Violence Prevention and Intervention Framework and foster healthier families and safer communities.”
Funds from this grant will go towards expanding the Gun Violence Prevention and Intervention Framework to include youth justice, We Matter RVA and the implementation of Youth LIFT Messengers.
The strategic plan that this grant is set to fund will also be informed in part by the City’s soon-to-be-released Youth and Gang Violence Community Assessment, according to a release from the city.
The project will also fund enhancements to the City’s Gun Violence Prevention Steering Committee as well as funding a three-year independent evaluation of the city’s gun violence prevention initiatives, led by VCU’s Survey and Evaluation Research Lab.
“The awarding of this grant comes at a time when Richmond is grappling with youth and teen gun violence almost on a weekly basis,” says Samuel Brown, Community Safety Coordinator. “Money is just the beginning but being able to enhance our programs and put more boots on the ground to pull our youth in is critical. My hope is to educate, train, and empower Richmond youth and teens to think critically before making life-altering decisions that no one can return from.”