Newport News receives grant for youth violence prevention

Jordan Crawford | 10/3/2013, 11:18 a.m.
The city of Newport News was awarded a grant for over $870,000 for youth violence prevention.
NN Mayor Mckinley Price points out that the grant is needed because the city currently has at least 19 national gangs in the city.

Newport News resident, Maurice Solomon, knows what can result from a board teen with nothing better to do.

“Currently, there is nothing in place to really give our youth something constructive to do,” he said. “On average, 13 people between the ages of 10 and 24 are murdered each day in the U.S. What do you do? I want them to have more activities out here to help the community and be there to support our younger people.”

City leaders believe keeping our youth busy is the answer and are completely optimistic.

“We are very excited about the positive impact that this grant will have on the youth of this city,” said Mayor Price. “Young people matter in this community and we want to give them every opportunity to be successful and to live healthy and productive lives. This is another important step in helping the community to develop and implement successful long-term strategies to address the problem of youth and gang violence.”

Connie Walker, who also lives in Newport News, praises the initiative, but believes that help should also be extended to youth transitioning back into the community from juvenile detention centers.

“I work with children at my church and in my community, so I am very sensitive to the matter,” she said. “I am glad this is getting done, but what about those youth getting a ‘second chance’ at life? I think money should go to fund Job Corps partnerships or some type of program to set youth up with jobs. This would teach them responsibility, give them actual skills, and show them how to be upstanding citizens…attack that thing from all ends.”

The project will also provide training in the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) Approach of community mobilization and engagement for 45 youth leaders, prevention group of 60 young people, and 30 community-based youth workers.