‘This is their second residence’: Englewood organization awarded huge grant towards violence prevention initiatives

CHICAGO (CBS) — There is a variety of dialogue round youth and violence in Chicago.

Grassroots organizations defy odds simply to do important work. and now one group on the south aspect is getting one in all its greatest monetary boosts ever, CBS 2’s Steven Graves introduces us to its chief.

She will get up early daily.

“Up at six, out by seven.”

Taking children to high school in a van. And then brings them right here for aftercare — for meals, enjoyable, and schooling.

“This is their second home.”

The nook of 63rd and Troy in Chicago. The residence of LaTonya & The Youth of Englewood.

“And I know that they’re safe and they’re engaged and involved in a positive environment,” LaTonya Johnson mentioned.

For near a decade, she’s helped children ages 5 to 14 primarily from Englewood.

“You had those children who was outside with nothing to do,” she mentioned.

It is her childhood neighborhood. An space that had probably the most kids shot in Chicago final year.

“It’s a village. That’s called a village.”

A rising village that not too long ago bestowed an unthinkable shock.

“I got an email.”

A message saying she’d been awarded a grant. State Senator Jaqueline Collins’ office approving the state-provided money — $150,000 price.

“And it was like ‘Whoa’, ok, this is really real. This is real,” Johnson mentioned.

This grant is particularly for violence prevention initiatives. It is additionally an funding made potential by the state’s finances and monetary reduction bundle for fiscal year 2023. 

“The funding I secured for the Youth of Englewood will allow the organization to continue its involvement with the community by supporting its violence prevention initiatives,” mentioned State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago). “This grant is one of many made possible by the state’s financial responsibility, and these services will help our communities garner resources and opportunities for youth in need.”  

And in LaTonya’s thoughts, she hopes meaning serving to these younger individuals uncover their objective and potential.

“Figuring out programming around anti-violence also youth employment as well. Being able to put those youth to work. Let me tell you what my new slogan is…’Put the guns down and pick up a job.'”

She hopes to supply stipends for youth to choose up work. While nonetheless understanding the best way to allocate the money.

But it is motivation to maintain going — overcoming occasions when she would take money out of her personal pockets to offer children hope.

“I want them to be proud of where they came from. That’s what I want them to do.”

Johnson is presently gearing as much as maintain her Summer Program. It will present a secure haven for at the very least 50 kids.

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