AURORA | City of Aurora staffers delivered their recommendations for splitting up $500,000 in funds for youth violence prevention on Thursday, including money for violence interrupters, mental health care and other services.
The update delivered to the Housing, Neighborhood Services and Redevelopment Policy Committee came after Aurora’s City Council approved making the $500,000 in marijuana tax revenues available for organizations to help combat youth violence and gang activity.
Council members Juan Marcano, Ruben Medina and Crystal Murillo, who make up the committee, said they approved of the recommendations for $400,000 in violence intervention services, which include:
- $68,141 to Mosaic Unlimited, Inc., a nonprofit associated with Mosaic Church of Aurora, for its Safe Havens program and Strengthening Families Curriculum.
- $65,000 to the Step Up Youth Corporation, a not-for-profit organization based in the Denver metro area that offers scholarships, in part to partner with Aurora Public Schools.
- $62,500 for the University of Colorado’s At-Risk Intervention and Mentoring Program, a violence interruption effort that identifies hospital patients at risk of violence and connects them with hospital- and community-based resources.
- $60,000 to Fully Liberated Youth, a Denver-based nonprofit, for outreach, mentorship, therapy and wraparound services.
- $56,000 to the Struggle of Love Foundation, another Denver nonprofit, for violence interruption services.
- $48,759 to the Juvenile Assessment Center — a nonprofit that works with families in Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties — for a bilingual family liaison and youth assessment and case management services.
- $39,600 to Aurora Community Connection for mental health and bilingual services.
The three also gave tentative approval to spending $100,000 for violence prevention services such as:
- $10,000 to A1 Boxing, a boxing gym in Aurora, in part to offer youth scholarships for the sport.
- $10,000 to the Rocky Mountain Welcome Center, a not-for-profit organization in Aurora, to offer services specifically for young immigrant girls.
- $10,000 to Aurora Public Schools for prevention supports for students and families.
- $10,000 to Driven by Our Ambitions, a youth mentorship and therapy organization based in the Denver area, for hosting basketball nights and helping with the re-entry of youth committed by the state’s Division of Youth Services.
- $10,000 to the Aurora Sister Cities program for a civic engagement youth summer camp.
- $10,000 to the Salvation Army and $10,000 to Denver Area Youth for Christ for hosting youth nights for Aurora youth.
- $10,000 in additional funding for the Struggle of Love Foundation for the Safe Zones program and wraparound services.
- $7,500 to Rise 5280 and $7,500 to Urban Nature Impact for joint youth prevention programming.
- $5,000 to the Aurora Housing Authority for movie nights and other resident engagement programs.
Christina Amparan, the city’s youth violence prevention manager, said the city received a total of 30 applications in March from organizations interested in grant funding.
Applications were reviewed by a panel consisting of school resource officers from the Aurora Police Department and representatives from the Tri-County Health Department, Aurora Mental Health, Center, Colorado Youth Detention Continuum, and Aurora Housing and Community Services.
Amparan said the group considered the level of organization and oversight within the agencies that applied, as well as their past successes and whether programs were rooted in evidence and best practices.
“We wanted to be sure we were recommending organizations that had either the curriculum or the staffing but also the expertise to be able to provide those services to our at-risk youth,” she said.
In response to a question from Marcano, Amparan said she thought the $500,000 provided “a good starting point” for organizations to help address youth violence in the city.
“There’s a lot of concern,” Marcano said of the topic of youth violence. “I don’t want you all to ever hesitate to come to us and ask for more.”
The recommendations will be presented to the City Council at an upcoming study session before they are approved or rejected by the group as a whole.