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City of Akron invests in violence prevention initiatives, rewards nonprofits with funding

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Posted at 7:11 AM, Jan 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-20 07:12:10-05

AKRON, Ohio — The city of Akron is laser-focused on preventing crime and investing in programs supporting youth growth and development.

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan recently announced more than two dozen organizations are on the receiving end of Violence Intervention and Prevention grants.

The city distributed $1.5 million dollars in grants for this third round of recipients. More than $4 million dollars in grants have been awarded so far over the last several months. Officials say these funds will inspire and help guide local kids on a path toward long-term success.

When Kemp Boyd says he believes in the city of Akron and the people who call it home--he means it. He's fully immersed in being part of the change and acting as a guide to the younger generations. "I think all of us want to be empowered. I think all of us want to be supported," Boyd, Executive Director of Love Akron said.

He says that support is vital after a recent surge of gun violence, the police shooting death of Jayland Walker over the summer, and other traumas plaguing the community.

"What young people need more than anything else, not only with one another-- I think is a positive adult," Boyd said.

Boyd is the Executive Director of "Love Akron"-- a Christian-based organization, serving as the backbone of the community for more than 25 years.

It aims to unify all colors, cultures and congregations to help the city thrive.

Love Akron is just one of more than two dozen non-profits on the receiving end of the city's third round of violence intervention and prevention grants.

The nonprofit will use the funds for "The Locker Room Experience."

It's a mentorship program for 120 high school student-athletes that will focus on life skills, leadership development, and training to be role models inside and outside of the classroom.

"We're bringing them together to say--'Hey, how are you seeing some of the violence that is going on, not just within the schools, but also within your communities? And then saying, hey, can you help to make plans to strategize how to decrease those levels of violence?'" Boyd said.

Denico Buckley-Knight, Youth Community Opportunity Director with the City of Akron Mayor's Office says the grants provide a clear opportunity to improve the community and get the guns off the streets.

He says it starts and ends with the youth and investing now is a clear no brainer situation.

"We are really strategically trying to make sure that--that is one of the key elements, is how do we listen to our young adults now, knowing that ten years from now they are going to be the homeowners, they're going to be the community leaders," Buckley-Knight said.

"Be the change that Akron needs. And we believe that they are the change that Akron needs," Boyd said.

These various grants were made possible thanks to American Rescue Plan Act funds.

City officials say there is true value and importance in these violence and intervention programs.

So much so-- that they are actually going to roll out another round of grants this spring.

Here's the full list of grant recipients: 

  • Akron Aids Collaborative - $80,000
  • Akron Dream Center - $15,000
  • Akron Urban League - $100,000
  • Akron Zoo - $60,000
  • Alchemy Inc. - $100,000
  • Always Climbing Project - $50,000
  • AxessPointe - $100,000
  • Boys & Girls Club Northeast Ohio - $50,000
  • Developing Student Athletes - $20,000
  • Fathers & Sons of Northeast Ohio - $15,000
  • GoalGetta Academy - $20,000
  • GodRich Project - $21,000
  • Harmony House - $35,200
  • He Brought Us Out Ministry - $50,000
  • House of the Lord - $100,000
  • It’s Not a Moment But a Movement, Inc. - $50,000
  • Keepers of the Art, Inc. - $15,000
  • Kent State University - $50,000
  • Law & Leadership - $20,000
  • Love Akron - $50,000
  • Minority Behavioral Health Group - $100,000
  • Project Ujima - $132,565
  • United Way of Summit & Medina Counties - $125,000
  • Tri-County JOGS - $50,000
  • Wealthy Place Staffing - $100,000
  • Wingfoot Church - $45,000

As far as how the organizations will use the funds, a press release provided by the mayor's office shared the following:

  • Provide skills training for new facilitators; provide weekly group facilitation, program materials, provide stipends, bus passes, and marketing for a community-wide awareness campaign related to the LGBTQ+ community
  • Funding will be used to purchase microphones, headphones, sound panels, software, keyboards, and instruments for the Creative Labs Studio Program that teaches youth in the community the valuable skills of music production, writing, recording and mixing, providing the opportunity to express themselves in healthy and creative ways
  • Will provide mentorship and life skills coaching to teens and young adults and will work alongside the Young Adult Group to identify a problem within their community, seek alternatives to address the issues, and develop a strategic plan to implement their ideas and solutions to bring about community change. Participants will also engage in 2-3 service learning activities throughout the year
  • Funds will allow the Akron Zoo and ARPA VIP partners to co-deliver a youth entrepreneurship program involving 15-20 Akron-based teenagers in growing the local compost market. Students will develop and deliver a customized youth entrepreneurship curriculum, coordinate composting services for local residents or businesses
  • Funds will specifically allow Alchemy to offer its mentoring program at 6 APS schools to increase the Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) of students, including improvements in self-awareness, self-management, self-motivation, decision-making, social awareness, relationship skills, and post-secondary educational success
  • Funds will be used to further develop the Future Climbers program - an afterschool program focused on mentoring, life skills, and leadership development to prepare our youth for a successful adulthood in college, the workforce and beyond. The program will serve 25 students at Firestone Community Learning Center
  • Creation of a Community Health Worker position with a focus on Violence Intervention Prevention to assist with reducing violence in the community
  • Provides youth ages 6-18 with safe, supportive and fun spaces to spend time during the critical hours of 2:30 - 7:00 p.m as well as during the summer months
  • Funds will be used to expand on their current mentorship program by purchasing program equipment and providing incentives for 50 students ages 6-18. Additionally, DSA will offer a Violence Prevention Partnership workshop along with a Youth Athletics Mentoring Coaching workshop
  • Will provide a mentoring program for fathers in order to assist them with accessing their child and building a relationship with their child. This program will provide men with fatherhood education classes & supportive services in order to build the father/child relations workshop
  • Will provide an after-school mentoring program for at risk youth ages 9-19 who have great exposures to violent crimes that have shown severe lack of motivation due to a learning disorder, or mental health challenges. Goal Getta Academy will host a Teen Career Day to expose this target population to the many job opportunities that are available based on their likes, goals, and desires
  • Creation of a mentoring program that coaches the youth and residents on how to use farming to grow and beautify to build a stronger community in attempt to reduce violence
  • This grant will support a one stop fully equipped refuge that addresses all the needs of youth and young adults aged 18-26 who have been exposed to violence and are homeless or at risk for homelessness through a variety of services
  • Will expand its current wraparound services in the North Hill area to expand and support its National Night Out Against Crime Initiative, Stop the Violence Community Symposium, It's OK to Tell Initiative, and HBUO Food Pantry initiatives
  • Funds will allow The House of the Lord to offer its Grief Recovery Method to address pain and suffering to communities impacted from the killing of a loved one. Additionally, the House of the Lord will conduct a Fugitive Safe Surrender initiative
  • Funding will be used to implement a Youth Empowerment Mentoring Program for 15-20 APS Middle School students in each cluster. Program will offer 150 hours of youth development, peer-led facilitation, and community peace projects.
  • Funding will be used for microphones, headphones, sound panels, software, keyboards, and instruments for the After School Mentoring Program. Keepers of the Art will provide 15-20 youth in the community the valuable skills of music production, writing, recording and mixing, providing the opportunity to express themselves in healthy and creative ways while also obtaining skills that can be used to generate income
  • Funding will be used to provide a mentoring program for 15-30 foster youth of Akron annually which will focus on life skills, and employment, enrollment, or enlistment readiness. These areas will be addressed through bi-weekly after-school sessions, monthly Saturday engagement days, and a 2-week Kent State summer academy experience held at the University
  • Funding will expand their mentoring & life program for 10 additional first generation college students to participate in their Law & Leadership program which will focus on life skills, and employment, enrollment, or enlistment readiness. These areas will be addressed through monthly after-school sessions and a University of Akron summer academy experience
  • Funding will provide "The Locker Room Experience", a mentorship program for 120 high school student-athletes which will focus on life skills, leadership development, and employment, enrollment, or enlistment readiness. These areas will be addressed through monthly after-school sessions, school projects, and community projects identified by the group to prevent violence
  • MBHG will provide training for 15-20 minority men to obtain 3 nationally recognized certifications within the behavioral health field in order to address the targeted population of 75 at-risk youth ages 16-25 and provide mentorship & wraparound services
  • Facilitation of Peace Circles in the community beginning in 2023 with a focus of healing the community to reduce violence & assisting with creation of the Strategic Plan around Violence Intervention & Prevention for the City of Akron
  • Funding will allow the United Way to partner with leadership from the GAR Foundation, Akron Public Schools, Summit Education Initiative, City of Akron, families, students, local universities, and providers to collaboratively design and launch an Out of School Time Network guided by the City of Akron’s 5 Point Framework for Community Violence Reduction to increase equity and access
  • Funding will allow JOGS to provide its job readiness and placement programming in a new, afterschool and summertime format at Buchtel CLC, East CLC, Garfield CLC and North High School. Funds will also provide adult and peer mentoring, community awareness and extracurricular involvement and expansion of the Work Based Learning opportunities within Akron Public Schools
  • Funding will select 50 individuals ages 15 to 21 and enroll into the BOSS job training program aimed at improving the social and clinical programs that affect an individual which results in criminal behavior. Mentors will be provided to these individuals for a holistic wraparound approach
  • Funding will be used to provide an after-school program called “Food, Faith and Fitness” targeting youth ages 10-14 from the Goodyear Heights neighborhood. The program will offer a bi-weekly experience from 3:00-5:00pm in cooking, exercise, and character development and conflict management skills

Round 1 VIP Grantees Renewal Amount

Alchemy - $213,000

Citizen’s Church Akron - $100,000

Dreams Academy - $100,000

Fallen Fathers Foundation - $100,000

Guys & Gals - $100,000

Hope & Healing/Battered Women’s Shelter - $100,000

Pastoral Counseling/Red Oak - $166,000

Project GRAD Akron - $169,000

South Street Ministries - $100,000

Victim’s Assistance - $100,000

Williams Challenge - $50,000