By Leonard E. Colvin
New Journal and Guide
Norfolk Police Foundation recently announced its second round of grant fund recipients under a new program supporting organizations working to deter violence within the community. According to a press release from the city, 14 local groups were chosen from more than 60 applicants to receive portions of $100,000 in federal funds provided through the City of Norfolk.
This Mini-Grant program promotes recovery, healing, recreation, and community-building in areas affected by criminal activity.
Organizations receiving Mini-Grants already provide many services and activities including educational presentations; community-wide social gatherings; sporting events; school and camp materials; offsite enrichment activities for youth groups; plus, opportunities to set up booths encouraging positive interactions among stakeholders.
The list of recipients in the second and final round of grant recipients receiving $10,000: The James E. Newby Foundation, Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughter; Unreasonable Kids College (UKC), H.O.P.E Foundation, Inc; INSPIRE Family Empowerment; Empowerment Center for mental Health; Community Impact; STOPtheViolence757 Inc; and the James Barry Robinson Center.
Old Dominion University received $8,000; Crop Foundation, $1,000; The Urban Renewal Center, $2,000; Repair the Breach, LLC Inc $1500 and Torrie’s Boot Camp $3,000.
According to Dr. James E. Newby, Jr., the grant funds awarded his foundation will be used to devise ways to improve the diet of youths to direct them down a different path of life away from poverty’s deadliest byproduct: gun violence.
Newby, a medical doctor, runs Primary Care Specialists with his wife and daughter, also physicians. He said that a healthy diet free of fast-food cuisine, fats, sugar, and other harmful elements, he believes, can be beneficial toward this goal.
Newby said studies show that 80 percent of the people involved in gun violence have a bad diet, which causes bad medical outcomes and shorter lifespans.
Violent behavior, he said, is also linked to other disparities related to education and housing. Also, the inability to access viable transportation to access resources such as healthy foods and educational options is a factor, as well.
Newby said the funds will be directed to several public schools in the city of Norfolk to teach students about cultivating their own healthy foods and eating healthy.
Another grantee, Ateba Whitaker, the founder in 2019 of Unreasonable Kids College (UKC), said she wants to partner with other organizations locally to recruit and train young Black males in entrepreneurship skills to engage various career areas.
She said several years ago while teaching at Stanford University, the university sponsored a youth entrepreneurship program, but it was too expensive for many urban youth.
She said the aim of her organization “Unreasonable Kids College” is designed to teach Black men to view a problem as an opportunity, not a barrier to moving forward.
Freddie Taylor, Jr. is the President of StoptheViolence757, an eight-year-old nonprofit that was founded in Portsmouth, but he is hoping his organization’s efforts will have reach all over the region.
Right now, it has anchor programs in the Brighton and Park View Elementary Schools in Portsmouth.
Taylor said StoptheViolence757 will be focusing the grant funding it received to bolster its existing mentoring, tutoring, and family enrichment programs.
“We must work to give these youth (14-18) a sense of self-awareness,” Taylor said. “We must help to build their decision-making and employment skills that will get them out of poverty and stop being at risk from joining gangs or hanging in the street.”
Taylor said he wants to engage the youth and their families in his organization’s Be Smart Program to teach people about the proper storage, use, and maintenance of firearms.
“There are so many programs’ people can access to help deter crime and violence,” Taylor said. “But many cities fail to educate and help a lot of people in distressed areas especially, know how to access them.”
Taylor said it was a mistake for the city of Norfolk to close its Skills Training Center. It provided training in automotive repair and building trades.
Taylor said it gave youth an opportunity to use their “time and hands” to secure a trade, make a living wage and avoid destructive behavior.
“Many cities have invested millions in the infrastructure to lure tourists to spend money,” he said. “But they have closed the rec centers, youth clubs, and other resources to invest in our youth. This is why they are involved in violent crime.”
The city of Norfolk, according to its press release, is working with the Newark Community Street Team (NCST) to design and implement a comprehensive community violence intervention program. One of NCST’s near-term recommendations was the creation of a Mini-Grant program. In the first round 10 organization received grants. The ones receiving $10, 000 were Guns Down Movement, Inc; Reck League; Teens With Purpose; GloYoUs Works Foundation, Inc.; Pain Provides Purpose Foundation, LLC; The Bibbs Firm; Amazing Athletes Hampton Roads and Impact VA Inc.
Lets Make A Difference received $8000 and Giving Hearts Inc. received $6,500.