Family Services of Westchester, Inc. (FSW) has been awarded a Neighborhood Violence Prevention Project grant in the amount of $275,600 this month. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced FSW is one of seven programs to share more than $2 million in grants designed to reduce gun violence in communities across New York State.
“This funding will support programs that directly engage high-risk youth to help them make better choices for their future,” Governor Cuomo said. “As we continue efforts to build safer communities across the state, these are critical investments in New York’s most vulnerable areas that will teach our youth an important lesson: picking up a gun should never be the answer." The $275,000 grant was given to FSW Feb. 5.
Building on the SNUG initiative formed in New York in 2009, the programs combine street outreach and violence intervention projects in localities that have been shown to have high volumes and rates of homicides and shootings. They use street outreach workers, sometimes called “violence interrupters,” who are trained to reduce violence or prevent further violence from occurring.
“Family Services of Westchester is grateful for this support and will develop a community-based strategy including neighborhood events and public education activities to help steer young adults away from solving problems using guns and violence. This is one step forward in continuing to keep our community and youth safe,” said Susan Wayne, President and CEO at Family Services of Westchester.
Grants are administered by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). “No one knows better what the future looks like for a high-risk youth than someone who has already been down that path,” DCJS Executive Deputy Commissioner Michael C. Green said. “By recognizing the signs that a situation might be escalating toward a violent conclusion, outreach workers can make contact with those on both sides of the issue and try to find a resolution, and also help open the eyes of those young people to more positive opportunities.”
About Family Services of Westchester:
FSW was founded in 1954 and runs more than 50 social service and mental health programs for all ages, including Head Start, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Adult and Youth Residences and Veterans Outreach and Support. Visit www.fsw.org for more information.