City provides over $1.78 million to fund programs that reduce gun violence
The City of Newport News is addressing gun violence, a national health crisis, by investing in community-based organizations that offer programs, initiatives, and strategies to create change in our community. The city launched a competitive application process to fund evidence-based solutions to the issue in June and received 28 applications. After a thorough review process, 19 applications were funded for a total investment of $1,786,551. Programs will begin immediately and run through June 30, 2023.
"We are investing in strategies that interrupt the cycle of violence amongst individuals at the highest risk for perpetrating or being a victim of gun violence,” said Newport News Mayor McKinley L. Price. “Through the Gun Violence Intervention Program, we are supporting innovative and technology-based prevention, intervention, enforcement, and re-entry strategies. The community-based programs we are helping launch and expand bring nonprofit organizations, businesses, groups, residents, law enforcement agencies, and countless others together to create transformational and sustainable change.”
Grant funds were awarded to the following organizations to support new or expanded programs.
- Boxing 2 Live ($99,968): Expansions to an existing program that serves Newport News youth ages 13-18. Program offerings include mentorship coupled with academic, fitness, and life skills focuses, including emotional intelligence, establishing self-worth, and personal finance.
- Center for Child & Family Services ($108,380): Create and implement the Violence Intervention & Prevention for Youth project. The project will serve Newport News youth ages 13-24 and incorporates trauma-informed counseling along with the conflict resolution program Peaceful Alternatives to Tough Situations (PATTS).
- Community Builders Network ($58,180): To address multiple risk areas for youth, Community Builders Network will use the framework from Cities United’s Roadmap to Safe, Healthy, and Hopeful Communities and the Communities Anti-Drug Coalition of America’s (CADCA) Seven Strategies for Creating Effective Community Change. The project will serve Newport News youth ages 13-18 and uses evidence-based strategies to support community-based agencies in building capacity to address gun violence prevention.
- Gun Violence Prevention & Intervention Outreach ($188,030): Funding will support the Trauma Recovery Center, a hub that provides comprehensive services to those impacted by gun violence. In collaboration with community partners and licensed professionals, participants will receive wraparound services, including physical therapy, mental health services, and support groups. The project also includes a call center.
- The HEB Foundation, Inc. ($176,794): Implementation of programs that address the economic needs of young people from post-high school to age 24 in Newport News. There are few programs targeted toward this population, and the project will fill a gap in services for post-high school youth by addressing economic stability, one of the risk factors related to participating in gun violence. Strategies include consistent outreach, accessibility, conflict resolution training, and addressing trauma.
- Hampton Roads Urban Agriculture ($10,000): Support of the Youth Urban Agriculture Leadership Program for Newport News residents ages 12-24. The program will include leadership and entrepreneurial training, STEM activities, and agriculture education, to include growing products and participating in a farmer’s market.
- Ketchmore Kids ($93,692): Funding will support the Think Tank project, a six-week conflict resolution program for Newport News youth and young adults. Participants will receive training through experiential learning activities that emphasize skills such as communication and positive socialization, which aid in resolving conflicts peacefully and making good life decisions.
- Let Our Voices Empower ($120,893): Development of the Transformative Mentoring Initiative, a collaborative new project with Let Our Voice Empower, AT2 Solutions, Monarch Clinical & Consulting Services, and Hampton University Departments of Counseling and Education. Newport News youth and young adults ages 13-24 will participate in a nine module training over 27 weeks that consists of activities to increase self-actualization, self-confidence, endurance, and organized planning.
- Newport News Police Foundation ($60,000): Support for Pathways to Justice, a collaborative project between the Newport News Police Foundation, Newport News Police Department, and multiple community partner agencies, that provides youth safe spaces in the community and mentoring by law enforcement. The project includes support for the MAGnus Effect (Mentoring Across Generations) in partnership with the Newport News Police Department, where law enforcement officers are paired with youth in a mentoring capacity to provide positive support in their lives.
- Newport News Public Schools ($92,703): Implementation of the My Brother's Keeper/My Sister's Keeper program, with both male and female students in all five Newport News high schools. Students will receive support and develop skills in four areas: academics, future orientation, empowerment, and mental health/mindset. Through a collaboration with Youth Volunteer Corps of Hampton Roads, students will also participate in a service learning training session and complete a community-focused service learning project.
- Quality of Life Counseling Center ($177,920): Expansion of Leading Youth of Tomorrow, which serves Newport News youth and young adults ages 13-24. The project is a collaborative, comprehensive approach to violence prevention and includes seven components: Reentry, Mentoring, Life Skills, Bullying Prevention, Anger Management, Mental Health, and Truancy Prevention.
- Sister to Sister ($100,100): Support for the Youth, Teaching Technology, Expanding Education, and Cultivation of Creativity (Y-TEC) program, which encourages healthy relationship building, improves self-esteem and social skills, and teaches youth to manage conflicts peacefully. The inclusion of a technology component enhances critical thinking, explores technological competencies, prepares youth for a competitive job market, and promotes equity.
- Soundscapes ($65,719): Expansion of the daily and after school Soundscapes programs at Carver Elementary, growth of the Peninsula Youth Orchestra, and organizational capacity building. Soundscapes uses evidence-based techniques to address risk factors and increase protective factors in youth.
- THRIVE Peninsula ($40,000): Support for Building Financial Foundations for Households with Youth and Young Adults. This program will help low-income families experiencing a financial emergency. The target population is families with children ages 13-24 or a head of household aged 18-24. This is a unique approach to gun violence prevention and intervention, addressing the risk factor of poverty and supporting protective factors.
- Today Jesus Outreach ($15,000): Support for the ALIVE (Abundant Love Impedes Violent Engagements) Initiative, which offers mentoring, community engagement, and increased family involvement to prevent gun violence in the community. The project uses an evidence-based approach to gun violence reduction while fostering a relationship between the community and police and providing various youth mentorship opportunities, such as events and camping.
- Volunteers of America Chesapeake & Carolinas ($79,477): Expansion of Newport News YouthBuild with the creation of the PeaceKeepers program, which adds a reentry focus to the workforce development program. The project will expand the YouthBuild caseload by 25 youth ages 16-24 and add a case manager to provide trauma-informed case management.
- What's Next: Breaking Barriers for Success ($193,120): Expansion of the What’s Next program, a workforce development initiative that addresses the risk factors of community poverty and family financial instability by connecting participants to job training, career preparation, and job attainment/retention to move them toward financial stability. The project also includes a mental health component. The program collaborates with Newport News Public Schools and Virginia Peninsula Community College, with plans to expand partnerships to other workforce development programs.
- YMCA ($61,315): Expansion of the YMCA Teen and Young Adult Initiative to Encourage Healthy Living program, which provides mentoring and tutoring for high school students and youth post-high school. The program will serve youth ages 13-24, including 20 high school students, and will include events at the Brooks Crossing Innovation and Opportunity Center, as well as trips to visit college campuses.
- Youth Volunteer Corps of Hampton Roads ($45,260): Implementation of the Service Through STEM: 2022-2023 Elevate Program in Youth Volunteer Corps clubs within Newport News Public Schools. The project will serve 25 students per school across all high schools. Students will attend after school club meetings, where they will discuss, research, and plan projects that address social/community issues. High school participants will serve as mentors to Pre-K and elementary school students through a series of STEM activities.
Newport News began this process by partnering with the Center for Crime, Equity, and Justice Research and Policy at Christopher Newport University (CNU) to release a Community Assessment Survey. The goal of the survey was to understand the most pressing concerns around safety, the root causes of violence, and the effects of crime in the city. The preliminary results were shared with the city earlier this summer; CNU will release the final report over the next few weeks.