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$2 million in funding available for at-risk youth programs in Mecklenburg County

To qualify for the funding, an organization must be considered a local public agency, a 501(c)3 non-profit, or a local housing authority.
Several community organizations devoted to stopping violence are about to enter a fight… a fight for funding.
Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 12:01 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 20, 2022 at 6:49 AM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A big funding opportunity is available for programs that target at-risk youths in Mecklenburg County. According to county officials, Mecklenburg County’s Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC) has more than $2 million available for local programs designed to keep kids out of trouble.

According to the county’s website, the JCPC addresses gaps in youth services by promoting prevention, intervention, treatment and aftercare strategies and programs which strengthen families and support community safety.

The website states that the JCPC is currently accepting proposals for programs that serve delinquent youth ages 6 to 17 who are either under the supervision of juvenile court, lacking supervision, or youth who are exhibiting behaviors which present the highest risk of juvenile court involvement.

To qualify for the funding, an organization must be considered a local public agency, a 501(c)3 non-profit, or a local housing authority.

Anyone interested in applying for the funding must attend a Pre-Bid Information session via WebEx. The sessions will be held January 24 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and February 2 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Sonya Harper, a member of the JCPC, spoke to WBTV in a Zoom interview Wednesday about the process of determining which organizations will receive funding.

“How we’ve typically done this in the past is we receive the applications, we take a look at how much funding folks are requesting, we look at what are some of maybe the priority areas that we see in the community at that given time and then we make funding decisions,” explained Harper.

The JCPC member said that during the last fiscal year, the council provided money to 13 different organizations, but there’s no guarantee that many groups will get money for the upcoming fiscal year.

Will Adams is one of the leaders of Team Trublue, a Charlotte nonprofit designed to promote peace and keep kids out trouble. He said he plans on applying for some of the JCPC funding. He explained to WBTV that he has been committed to promoting nonviolence ever since his son was murdered several years ago.

“I continue to see teens that are being murdered that are in this senseless violence, this senseless crime,” said Adams in an interview with WBTV Wednesday night.

Yulonda Johnson is the youth coordinator for Team Trublue. Not only does the organization help feed families during the holidays, it also helps plan activities and events for kids. Johnson has seen the positive impact these events have on people in the community.

“I still have relationships with some of the youth that we’ve worked with previously and I just see us doing great new things moving forward and I’m so proud of what we’ve done and the things we’re about to do,” said Johnson.

Adams said Team Trublue’s members have paid for many of the organization’s events out-of-pocket with some community donations. He said they’ve struggled to secure outside funding for their efforts.

“For us to be overlooked, you know it hurts, but as an organization, again it’s not about the money, it’s about the kids,” said Adams.

Johnson shared Adams’ sentiment about the funding struggle but added that it would help Team Trublue serve more youths if the organization could secure funding assistance.

“It’s never about the money. We’ve done this for several years for no money at all, but the money would be beneficial and it would be able to help us to provide and give more because it will just go back into the community,” explained Johnson.

Adams and Johnson both agreed that regardless of whether Team Trublue is selected to receive JCPC dollars, the nonprofit’s community work will continue.

“It’s not gonna stop. It’ll never stop. The funding would be great, but if it doesn’t happen, it won’t stop what we do,” said Johnson.

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