KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The City of Knoxville‘s Office of Community Safety announces providing micro-grant programs to support the efforts of local nonprofit and community groups that are working to prevent, interrupt and reduce youth violence.
The Spring Break Opportunity Youth Micro-Grant program supports engagement activities and job opportunities for young people during Knox County Schools‘ Spring Break, March 13-17, 2023. According to instrumentl.com, a micro-grant is a small grant for a one-time project which can be given to individuals or groups trying to impact their local community.
“The City understands the importance of reaching young people who are most likely to be involved in violence,” Chief Community Safety Officer LaKenya Middlebrook said. “We can all work together to bring awareness to youth violence.”
The City of Knoxville believes the grant programs will build upon the success of youth programs completed earlier this year.
According to the news release, applications will be for those between the ages of 14-19 who are at the highest risk of becoming victims of, or committing, violent crime due to one or more of the following reasons:
- Disconnected from school, work or consistent participation in community-based programs/services
- Member of, or associated with, an active crew/group/gang
- Juvenile or criminal system involvement
- Victim of violent crime
- Has a close friend or family member who was shot in the last year
- Parent is incarcerated
During the Spring Break 2022, nine organizations utilized over $24,000 in grant funds to serve 120 young people. 114 of those in the group were opportunity youth. Nearly 60 percent of those youth reported being disconnected from school, work or community organizations. 27 percent reported having a close friend or family member who had been shot within the last year.
According to Knoxville Police Department Spokesperson Scott Erland, of the victims of gun homicides in 2021, nine were between the ages of 15-19, including six juveniles.
“Connecting high-risk youth to jobs and meaningful activities has been shown to reduce poverty and increase engagement – both factors that lead to better outcomes,” Middlebrook said.
After spring break, participating youth transitioned into after-school programming or employment, continuing to keep them engaged in programs during the school year.
According to the news release, some applications will be partially funded and some may not be funded. Awards will range from $500-$3,000.
The application deadlines are Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, for the Spring Break grant program and Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, for the Youth Violence Prevention Week grant program. Applications, program guidelines and budget worksheets are available at knoxvilletn.gov/communitysafety and knoxvilletn.gov/citygrants.
There will be reports on the number and demographics of opportunity youth served and the impact of programming.