The City of Knoxville is helping young people at highest risk for violent crime access jobs and activities this summer through its Summer Opportunity Youth Grant.

Local nonprofit organizations, or those with fiscal sponsors, that operate youth summer programs can apply for grant funding in amounts between $3,000 and $20,000 to expand their job programs and other activities to a category of at-risk youth identified as “opportunity youth,” according to a news release by the City of Knoxville.

“Opportunity youth are the most at-risk, or proven risk, young people in our community,” Community Safety Director LaKenya Middlebrook said in a statement. “They are likely disconnected from programs or activities; they are group-affiliated, engaged with the juvenile or criminal justice system, have a close friend or family member who has recently been involved in violent crime, or may have themselves been a violent crime victim.”

In Summer 2021, a pilot grant program managed by the City’s Empower Knox Initiative within the Office of Community Empowerment proved to be successful by supporting 281 youth served by 11 organizations, according to the press release. Funding recipient The 5th Woman reported that all of the young people in their summer program knew a young person who had died due to violence in the previous year.

Applications for the grant are open now through the Office of Community Safety. Grants will be awarded in May 2022 for programming and support carried out between June 6th and September 2nd, 2022. Grant funding should specifically support programming, stipends, payment, or other services directly for the Opportunity Youth engaged in programming, the press release notes. Applications are due April 7th, 2022 by 4:30 p.m.

For those organizations funded this year, a post project report of the programs or activities administered, number and demographics of opportunity youth served, and impact of programming must be submitted at the end of the grant cycle, the press release notes.

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.