COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – In addition to funding youth summer programming, the city of Columbus is also continuing to fund its Neighborhood Violence Intervention Program. City Council has approved more than $850,000 which will go to two organizations.
“Our incident rate in this community would be a lot higher as it relates to violence if we didn’t have this program in place,” said Stephanie Hightower, president and CEO of the Columbus Urban League (CUL).
The CUL and Community for New Direction (CND) are each receiving about $430,000.
“This work is continuous, there is no end, there will never be a day that violence ceases, we just have to continue to modify how we work with people with the goal of always decreasing violence,” said John Dawson, president and CEO of CND.
Both organizations work in all parts of the city and have specialists available 24/7. Hightower called those specialists intervention navigators.
“They all have lived experiences, they are respected in the community and the community that they’re serving, but they bring a very powerful message to these young men and women about alternative ways in order to navigate being in this world we’re in today,” she said.
Hightower said a large portion of the funds will go towards the non-profit’s intervention navigators. Sometimes they meet victims and their families at the hospital after a violent incident. CND also has employees doing similar work. Dawson said the funds will go towards that as well as CND’s job training and placement efforts.
“What we do is we try to curb it by getting kids or young people involved in more positive activities,” he said. “We know employment is not the answer to crime, but we also know one old adage, idle time, idle mind.”