Columbus Council tonight approved funding for 20 crime prevention programs ranging from $10,000 to $95,000 and totaling almost $732,000.
The grants, most of which are aimed at youth problems, were all recommended by the the city’s crime prevention board of directors. Councilors had little or no discussion about 19 of the 20 programs, but had quite a bit to say about one, and it’s one that they all say is one of the most effective crime prevention program the city has seen lately.
It is the Boxwood Recreation Center, which was resurrected in 2012 to serve an under-served community and to host successful youth soccer and mentoring programs.
Councilor Judy Thomas challenged Crime Prevention Director Seth Brown as to its presence on the list, because she was under the impression that it was to be moved into the Parks and Recreation Department’s budget this year. But, as with the other councilors who expressed similar thoughts, she prefaced her concern with glowing support for the program.
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“I fully, absolutely, without a doubt support the program that parks and rec is doing at Boxwood. It is a tremendous program,” Thomas said. “I seem to remember, however, that the last time we had this conversation about funding this program through Crime Prevention, the deal was that parks and rec was going to move this into their regular budget.”
Brown explained that had been the plan, but that the funds couldn’t be found, so the Crime Prevention Board was told that without the $30,000 infusion from their budget, the program would go away.
After several other councilors expressed their support for the program but their concern for funding it through the Crime Prevention Department, Thomas finally said she would vote for the program this year.
“I’m here to tell you that I support your program. I want to give you the money. I want to find the money, and this year, I’m willing to take it out of Crime Prevention,” Thomas said. “But I may not be that willing next year.”
Brown said the Crime Prevention Board had expressed the same concerns Thomas had, because they do not want to continue to fund the same programs year after year. But they felt the only way the center could stay open was with their help, so they recommended the grant.
The other programs are:
F.A.S.T, $85,000, to reduce dropouts, juvenile delinquency and crime rates. It operates in three schools, Georgetown, Dawson and Fox Elementary.
Adult Drug Court, $10,000, for a post-sentencing program that provides four means by which parties may enter into Drug Court -- Conditional Discharge, First Offender Act, Probation Revocation and a Straight Guilty Plea.
Teen Advisors, $30,000, to provide staff workers to train the almost 500 student members to be mentors for other students. The program aims to reduce the amount of drug and alcohol use and sexual activity.
Literacy Alliance, $87,500, for two programs: Kindergarten Readiness – 8 weeks of daily reading one on one with Pre-k students. Adult Literacy Class – works with adults with low literacy and math skills.
Right from the Start, $40,000 to use the WAIT program through classes to decrease the rate of teen pregnancy and drug usage.
Chattahoochee Valley Jail Ministry, $38,000, to educate and prepare inmates for graduation of the GED program.
Big Brothers Big Sisters, $20,000, or a mentoring program that focuses on youth ages 6-14, at risk and some involved within the judicial system.
Boys and Girls Club, $40,000, for 50 youth to be helped through the Delinquency Prevention Initiative.
Bridge, $13,000, to target 18-24-year-olds who lack hhigh school di-plomas.. Seventy-five would be enrolled. Program provides literacy skills and GED preparation.
LeadsOnLine CPD, $18,000, to utilize the online system to assist in burglary and property being returned.
NFOAAY, $25,300, to target youth within the Columbus Housing Authority 325 kids. The program will tutor children after school.
Office of Dispute Resolution, $20,000, to target fathers through the Legitimation Station. Will treat approximately 200 men. Funding will provide the attorney that works with the fathers.
Dare to Be Great CPD, $50,000, to target as many as 600 youth between 10-14. Urban League, $20,000, to target 100 prisoners being released into the community. This will be a job placement program.
EITA, $20,000, to target youth for after school tutoring and mentoring.
TIP, $30,000, to target 20-25 students that have at least 10 unexcused absences. This program works with the Juvenile Court system.
Georgia Appleseed, $95,000, to target the entire school districtj to prevent truancy, expulsion, juvenile law reform.
Girls Inc., $40,000, to work with girls in grades 1-11with three programs: LTS Stride academy – a rigorous online educational curriculum.Readiness and Prep Program – to educate children and their parents the importance of grades, ACT and SAT.Economic Literacy – to educate participants on the importance of financial awareness and independence.
Junior Marshal, $20,000, to target 100 middle school students selected by counselors within the school.