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Council to consider 11 crime prevention programs worth $680,000

Columbus Crime Prevention Director Seth Brown will bring 11 grant proposals worth $680,000 to Columbus Council Tuesday evening, according to council’s agenda.

Brown said two of the 11 organizations would be funded for the first time, should council approve the requests. Big Brothers Big Sisters and Right from the Start, both programs aimed at mentoring youth, are being presented to council for the first time this year.

The others are asking that their grants be renewed, but that’s not a rubber stamp process, Brown said.

“Every time we do a cycle of grants, it’s like they’re brand new,” Brown said. “They have to re-apply every year and the same standards apply. They have to have a board, have to be a 501c3, they have to submit financial records. They have to have a plan on how to achieve their goals and they have to have a budget.”

In addition to producing an annual report for the board to review, the organizations are also monitored by Brown and board members, sometimes with surprise visits, throughout the year.

“We make spontaneous visits. I do that on my own, and I also have board members who just pop in,” Brown said. “The only programs that we don’t make unannounced visits to are those that deal with juveniles in situations that are confidential.”

The seven-member Crime Prevention Board is appointed by the mayor (four members, including the chair) and council (three members). All board members must be approved by a majority of council.

The organizations and grant amounts that will be presented to Council Tuesday are:

Big Brothers Big Sisters: $20,000 to mentor juveniles age 6-14 to reduce truancy, drug use, pregnancy and delinquency.

Georgia Appleseed: $90,000 to open a field office in Columbus to keep youth in class, out of juvenile courts and “on the road to graduation.”

Teen Advisors Inc.: $70,000 to mentor juveniles age 11-18 to reduce truancy, drug use, pregnancy and delinquency.

Chattahoochee Valley Jail Ministry: $42,000 for programming and mentoring to educate and prepare inmates for graduation from the GED program.

DARE to be GREAT: $85,000 to the Columbus Police Department for programming and mentoring of youth age 10-14 to reduce drug use, pregnancy and gang activity within the school system.

Family Center of Columbus F.A.S.T Program: $85,000 to pay mental health professionals to treat at risk youth and families to reduce dropouts, juvenile crime and delinquency.

Junior Marshal’s Program: $38,000 to the Muscogee County Marshal’s Office to mentor youth age 11-14 to reduce drug use, pregnancy and gang activity within the school system.

Juvenile Drug Court: $50,000 to reduce recidivism and continued drug use among non-violent juvenile offenders.

Literacy Alliance: $100,000 to increase literacy rates of Muscogee county residents in an effort to reduce crime and lower recidivism rates among adults.

Right from the Start: $40,000 to mentor youth age 12-16 to reduce drug use, pregnancy and delinquency within the Muscogee County School System.

Adult Drug Court: $60,000 to reduce recidivism and continued drug use among adult offenders.

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