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April 7, 2010 > Grant for Youth Violence Prevention and Intervention program

Grant for Youth Violence Prevention and Intervention program

By Shavon Walker

Union City Council approved a resolution that would appropriate grant funding from the Kaiser Permanente Foundation 2010 Community Benefit Program for the city's Youth Violence Prevention and Intervention Program (YVPI) on March 23.

In January, the city submitted an application to Kaiser's grant program. The Youth & Family Services Division hoped to be awarded $20,000 to provide medical and social services to YVPI program. They also wished to relocate the program to the former Fire Station #3 facility on 10th Street in the Decoto neighborhood. They were awarded the grant in March.

Over the next year, the grant money will fund programs such as health education for teen pregnancy, nutrition education, tutoring, a mural project and recreational activities such as boxing. These programs are designed to provide services and support to young men engaged in violence in the community and support individual and family health.

Each program will have a direct effect on the youth who use them. For instance, health education about teen pregnancy will allow young mothers-to-be to take care of themselves and their unborn babies, thus, avoiding malnutrition and other medical issues that arise from poor care. Nutrition education will help youth to keep themselves healthy through sound food choices and reduce the likelihood of diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol, which have a higher incidence among disadvantaged groups.

Tutoring will improve grades and give clients a reason to stay in school. The mural project is designed to encourage creativity and be a constructive outlet. Boxing will engage youth in an activity that will help relieve stress and make them less likely to become violent.

According to the Surgeon General's 1999 report on youth violence, "Most highly effective programs combine components that address both individual risks and environmental conditions, particularly building individual skills and competencies, parent effectiveness training, improving the social climate of the school and changes in type and level of involvement in peer groups." The programs funded by Kaiser's grant take each one of these components into account and seek to make them as viable as possible. Ultimately, the YVPI program hopes to encourage their clients to make better life choices and avoid violence.

To lighten the burden on city employees, contractors will staff the programs whose performance will be monitored. The existing facility will not undergo any permanent changes and the city will retain the option to use it for other purposes in the future.

The city will not have to pay for any of the proposed programs or associated expenses as they will be covered by the Kaiser grant, CalGRIP funding, Measure UU monies and the Leisure Enterprise Fund.

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