City Launches Positive Youth Development Grant Program to Combat Gun Violence


RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – In an effort to combat rising gun violence among youth, nonprofit NextUp RVA, in partnership with the City of Richmond, has launched a grant program to help fund programs , limited services for teens , and activities this summer.

This effort is part of the City of Richmond’s Gun Violence Prevention Initiative. Using nearly $1 million in city funding from the American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA), grants will be awarded to nonprofit organizations in Richmond that can bring programs to schools and neighborhoods for young people. most vulnerable in the city.

Patricia Clement is a 20-year veteran of the Petersburg police who started a nonprofit called Jump Stars that teaches children how to dub Dutch.

“Police work is very demanding, so after 20 years I went full time with my business,” Clement said. “We use the power of double Dutch to empower young people to set and achieve goals.”

Clément started his program in 2012, but he has been able to grow over the years thanks to the support of NextUP. The CEO says Jump Stars can give kids an outlet that can keep them from turning to the streets that have become more violent in recent weeks.

“I know what happens when kids don’t have activities, I know they’ll get in trouble because I was that kid,” Clement said. “The support they give us is second to none. No one ever asked us what we needed.

Barbara Sipe, President and CEO of NextUp RVA, said the purpose of this funding is to provide limited, short-term funding to organizations serving teens and families for summer 2022 programs and activities that will promote positive youth development for Richmond City teens, 12-19 years old.

“If we give young people positive things to do and positive experiences, then they will have more positive outcomes,” Sipe said. “How do children do things for all of us.”

Sipe says the funding should be used to help remove barriers to access, including transportation and finances, that might otherwise prevent a local nonprofit from providing positive services to area youth. NextUP RVA has already introduced several after-school programs at many colleges in Richmond, but Sipe says they hope to expand the programs to high school youth.

“Children who participate in these programs that we work with come to school more often, they have better school attendance and they have more friends at school, which leads to better academic behavior,” said Sip.

NextUp RVA offers micro-grants (up to $1,000) for community-building activities and events. Applications for funding must be submitted no later than May 6, 2022.

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