At its May 3, 2022, meeting, City Council approved $194,108.80 in Summer Opportunity Youth Program grant funding to community-based organizations to provide support and programming for youth and young adults between June 6 and Sept. 2, 2022.
The Office of Community Safety sought applications from local community groups to provide program and/or employment opportunities to “opportunity youth,” young people ages 12-21 who are living in or at risk for being involved in violent crime.
“When young people are not in school during the summer, they can get disconnected from opportunities to learn, work or otherwise stay engaged,” says Community Safety Director LaKenya Middlebrook. “Reducing youth involvement in violent crime means involving them in their community. These grants are helping expand those opportunities to more young people and the organizations that serve them.”
Activities being funded include: free therapeutic art classes; workforce and construction skills development; book publishing and t-shirt printing; business, entrepreneurial and marketing skills; martial arts training; trauma-informed support; peer leaders training; performing arts enrichment; mentoring; vocational skills training, and more.
The Office of Community Safety will monitor the progress of the funded projects, provide technical assistance as needed, insure delivery of all project reports and receipts, and encourage grant recipients to exchange ideas and best practices. Funding will directly support programming, supplies, stipends or other direct services.
The Office of Community Safety, established by Mayor Kincannon in August 2021, leads violence interruption strategies, coordinates safety innovation and collaboration among City departments, and enhances partnerships with on-the-ground people and organizations who are working to make Knoxville safer. The office works closely with the Office of Community Empowerment and coordinates resources with others on the front lines working to keep our neighborhoods safe.
For more information about the grants and other activities of the Office of Community Safety, visit KnoxvilleTN.gov/CommunitySafety.