MIAMI - With recent research showing that unsupervised youth are a problem in communities across the nation, five new local projects funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will address ways to end youth violence and promote youth development.
By providing young people with constructive after-school programs and workshops, the new projects aim to keep youngsters from engaging in antisocial activities and help them work toward brighter futures.
Students from Detroit's Empowerment Zone will learn about entrepreneurship and get the chance to create their own businesses thanks to a $550,000 partial challenge grant to the Michigan Institute for Nonviolence Education. The entrepreneurial training program, called The Helping Youth Pursue Excellence Entrepreneurship Academy, follows a 1998 Knight Foundation planning grant which revealed the need for more job training, internships and mentoring by current and retired business owners. That plan recommended the development of the entrepreneurship program.
The project includes a Summer Academy where 100 young people ages 13-17 will learn social and business skills. Students will be selected to participate in a Saturday program during the school year to refine their skills and develop business plans. A mentoring program will help students flesh out the most promising plans as well as provide summer internship opportunities. Business start-up assistance from the One Stop Capital Shop and the Booker T. Washington Business Association will be offered as well.
"By developing these skills, young entrepreneurs will have a chance to become leaders among their peers and in their neighborhoods," said Knight Foundation Program Director Linda L. Raybin.
A $180,000 grant to the YMCA of Metropolitan Columbus in Georgia will support Y-WOLF (Youth Working on Leadership and Fitness), an after-school program in the Farley Homes neighborhood. The program will provide homework assistance, violence prevention/conflict resolution training, sports and recreation activities and a variety of workshops and field trips for students ages 6-14.
In North Dakota, the Grand Forks Public School District will receive $150,000 in support of a program to prevent alcohol use among youth. In collaboration with Altru Health Systems, Lutheran Social Services and other organizations, the program will offer middle school students and parents educational and extracurricular activities. Café Kosmos, a teen hang-out in downtown Grand Forks, will offer community open houses featuring international food and entertainment while Lutheran Social Services will offer programs to help parents and adults talk to kids about alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse.
The Mental Health Center of Boulder County in Colorado will receive $150,000 for start-up costs for Families and Schools Together (FAST) at three Boulder County schools. Through an eight-week series of multifamily group meetings for stressed and socially isolated families, FAST addresses such issues as violence and delinquency, alcohol and drug abuse, and school dropout.
In Kentucky, Knight Foundation has also awarded a three-year $250,000 grant to The National Conference for Community and Justice for the Lexington Youth Leadership Institute. A collaborative effort between the local YMCA and the Mayor's Youth Council, students will receive diversity training on racism, sexism and other forms of bias and teach conflict-resolution and community activism skills while earning academic credit.
Launched in 1996, Knight's initiative provided planning grants in 13 Knight communities to develop collaborative approaches to the problem of youth violence. So far, organizations in 12 communities have received grants to implement specific programs, including Detroit. Three programs are focusing on entrepreneurship training.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes excellence in journalism worldwide and invests in the vitality of 26 U.S. communities.
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