Nonprofits receive ONE Lexington violence prevention grants

Fifteen grassroots nonprofit organizations active in violence prevention are receiving grants from ONE Lexington, Mayor Linda Gorton said today.

“Nonprofit organizations have been active in our community for many years, working to stop violence among our young people. They’re involved in mentoring, art, coaching, education, wellness, counseling, and more,” Gorton said. “As ONE Lexington started working with these organizations it became clear the government needs to help them grow so they can work with even more young people.” The organizations will split $100,000, Gorton said.

ONE Lexington Director Devine Carama said, "One of the biggest goals coming out of our 2021 strategic planning sessions to reduce gun violence among youth and young adults in Lexington, was for the city to not reinvent the wheel, but instead engage in partnerships with organizations on the frontlines already doing the work of ‘Prevention, Intervention, Enforcement & Re-entry.’ This grant program puts resources directly into the hands of those who are already doing the work."

Organizations submitted applications for the funding through Community Action Council, which vetted each proposal and recommended organizations for funding. There were 34 applications originally.

The 15 organizations represent a variety of approaches to helping young people. For example:

Terry Dumphord, who works with VOYAGE, said the grant will “allow community partners like ours to support individuals who otherwise wouldn't have access to the resources. We will be able to increase capacity, thereby increasing our impact on our community in a positive way." VOYAGE works to empower youth to be leaders today, and pave the way for a brighter future for themselves and those who follow in their footsteps, Dumphord said.

Coach Terry Hicks, Lexington Ravens Football Organization, said, “Receiving this grant is big for our organization and the youth we serve. It will allow our program to do more in the community, and help give kids more opportunities.”

And Elisha Mutyongwa of the Marafiki Center said, “We will use these funds to create a space of agency and collaboration for African immigrant youth. Our AfroYouth Conference helps youth navigate the complexities of different cultural elements including gun culture. Past trauma from displacement, mental illness, cultural differences, and issues of violence also directly affect our African youth living in Lexington.”

“These organizations take different approaches to reaching our youth,” Gorton said. “However, in the end, the message is the same: be safe, stay away from guns, enjoy a bright future.”

Following are the organizations that received funding:

  • Operation Making a Change (OMAC) – A program created and designed by Gerald Gibson. The organization provides mentorship, coaching. and support to teens and adults to enhance their self-awareness skills in order to break the cycle of problem behavior and make a sustainable behavior change. The program also seeks to enhance respect, discipline and accountability.
  • On the Move Art Studio – ​A mobile art room created in a refurbished vintage trailer that travels to underserved neighborhoods to host free arts classes for kids in Central Kentucky.
  • Exhilarating Inc. – Provides programs and workshops designed to educate and empower youth and young adults. Our goal is to promote social and environmental development for participants and prevent homelessness and family breakdown. Exhilarating Inc. provides a safe, structured and holistic environment within our programs, which educate, empower and promote social and emotional development.
  • Marafiki Center – Creates opportunities for cross-cultural connection. We build a bridge of mutual understanding through education, events, and advocating for improved representation of the Swahili-speaking community.
  •  Lexington Ravens Football Organization – A local youth football organization that provides opportunities for underserved youth. Our goal is to teach hard work, discipline and respect on and off the field. 
  • The Black Male Working Academy – A nationally awarded program aimed to reach, teach and keep the black student population from failing. The vision of Black Male Working Academy is to enhance the quality of life and positively shape the future for African American males through education, collaboration, and exploration.
  • Sisters & Supporters Working Against Gun Violence – A grassroots non-profit organization inspired by the deaths of Lexington children due to gun violence. The mission is to save the youth population by promoting awareness, education, and prevention of gun violence. 
  • Legends Youth Boxing – Youth and community outreach through the sport of boxing. Licensed coaches are readily available to train youth looking for a positive alternative to gun violence. Gloves up, guns down! 
  • VOYAGE (Voices of Youth Administering Global Education Movement) – a divine movement whose mission is to uplift and empower the have nots and the forgotten. Empowering youth to be leaders today and pave the way for a brighter future for themselves and those who follow in their footsteps by instilling divine principles that are universal to all religious ideologies and unify through these principles with all humankind. 
  •  Charlotte Court Inc. – In these programs, we target elementary and middle school students who struggle academically, behaviorally, and/or socially. Many of these students come from single-home families and/or low-income households. Without the support of sponsors and donors, the majority of these students would not be able to participate in the programs.
  • The Lexington Stryders Club – Our mission is to make sure that athletes and athletes-in-training are prepared to perform. The volunteer coaching staff and parents are committed to offering sports training and experiences at all levels of readiness.
  • Kappa League – Kappa League was founded on Thursday, February 12, 1969, by the Los Angeles Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., at Alain LeRoy Locke High School. Kappa Klub is a program focused on educational, occupational and social gain for its participants. 
  • H.E.A.R.T.S. –  Outreach mentoring program for young adults and at-risk youth in the greater Lexington community.
  • Resolve Fitness – Through fitness and wellness, we empower those who are overcoming adversity in many forms, breathing life into the resolve of others by providing mentorship, executive coaching, and personal development for marginalized individuals.
  • RadioLex – A mass media platform to amplify underrepresented local voices and promote an equitable, inclusive community. RADIOLEX is a go-to information resource for thousands of listeners in Lexington's underrepresented neighborhoods, especially our Black, Hispanic, Asian, Immigrant & Refugee, and LGBTQ+ communities, as well as others whose experiences and concerns are not represented in mainstream media.

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