INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Mayor Hogsett’s office has begun seeking applicants for Round II of its Community-Based Violence Prevention Partnerships, which last year awarded $300,000 in grants to five organizations.
The money was intended to fund violence prevention programs reliant on community groups with specific neighborhood impacts.
One of those organizations was the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Center in Butler-Tarkington, which partnered with Best Buy to build a media technology lab where youth are paid a stipend to learn skills and complete their General Equivalency Diploma (GED) studies.
“I’m trying to learn photography and photo editing,” said Royce Davis who dropped out of high school in the 11th grade. “We got a shirt press. We got beat making. We got photography. We got 3D printers. Computers.
“I got my forklift license here. I want to be able to drive heavy machinery. I want to get my GED, go to Ivy Tech or a junior college.”
At Community Action of Greater Indianapolis, recipients are taught life skills intended to curb the type of poor decision making that one ex-offender said landed him in prison.
“For one it’s changed my life, saved my life, and it’s doing the same thing for these people,” said Timothy Taylor, 27, and sitting at a table with two other participants several years younger. “These young men, myself included and my peers included, they need this safe haven and places like this and programs like this because a lot of them are hopeless.
“A lot of these young men feel like they have no direction and nowhere to go. They feel like they don’t have anybody to help them and really push them along to where they’re trying to go.”
CAGI Program Coordinator Val Tate said she can tell the program is a success by asking of Taylor and other participants, “Are they re-offending? Are they going to class? What are they doing with their lives?”
Other 2018 grant participants said they used the city’s money to pay for funerals, food, utility bills and one-on-one counseling in some of Indianapolis’ toughest neighborhoods.
“There’s been a lot of other entities who have stepped up to say we’re here to help whether we got the grant or not because we care about our community,” said Shonna Majors, Director of Community Violence Reduction.
Majors said the mayor’s office is partnering with IUPUI to review quarterly reports by last year’s recipients to determine if the first $300,000 in grants played a role in reducing violent crime in the city.
The deadline to submit an application for the Round II grants program is May 17 with recipients to be announced in early June.