AURORA, Colo. — The City of Aurora recently opened grant applications for community organizations that provide youth violence prevention programs and need funding.
“Our city leadership did designate $500,000, and so we're looking to find organizations that either provide intervention or prevention youth programming to ensure that we're increasing the capacity of our city to address some of the impacts of violent behavior and other risk factors that our youth are experiencing,” Aurora Youth Violence Prevention Program Manager Christina Amparan said. “Out of the $500,000, $400,000 will go towards intervention, so that's 80% of available funds, and then 20% of the funds will go towards prevention.”
Amparan says the funding will help support a lot of the community-based programming already happening throughout the city.
“This is a subject I've been following, actually, because I have young kids and I have kids, adolescents, who are, you know, navigating schools that are impacted by violence,” said concerned parent Missy Berglund.
Berglund says while she’s grateful the funding is available for community organizations, she’s also disappointed in the amount of funding.
“The original budget called for a million dollars to be put into this programming, and so while I'm glad that there's funds available for the grants, it's not the original budget. It's a cut to the budget of 40%," said Berglund. "I think our young people deserve to have money directed at programming for them, to meet their needs, and to stop what has been happening in our community."
Berglund says she would also like to see more prevention-based services instead of intervention programs.
“We know that after school hours aren't always great for kids. So programming that fills those gaps when parents are at work or not quite home after school keeps kids from getting into things that might not be in their best interest or in the community's best interest,” she said. “In my experience, talking with police officers in our community, they want relationships with kids and doing prevention-based work allows them to build those relationships and to rebuild that trust that APD is talking about wanting to build in our community.”
Shana Shaw, executive director of Compound of Compassion, says she plans to apply for the grants.
“There are more. The grants are for towards intervention and not prevention. But I think you have to work intervention while working prevention because if we have prevention, then there's not really as much of a need for the intervention,” Shaw said.
Shaw says however the money is allocated, she’s just glad the city is offering support to organizations that are working to keep teens safe and engaged in healthy activities.
“We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. We just need to kind of shine the wheel that's already rolling,” she said.
The Aurora Police Department and several other community organizations will hold a teen's night out at the Airhouse Adventure Park in the Town Center of Aurora on March 16 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Kids ages eight to 17-years-old are welcome. To learn more, click here.