COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — With summer nearly here, city leaders work to keep the youth engaged and away from violence by investing more than $16 million to Columbus’ summer youth programming.

That money includes nearly 40 organizations, ranging from summer education classes to workforce employment opportunities and violence prevention groups.

“The investments were announced today, and the programs they support, couldn’t come at a more crucial time,” said Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther.

Ginther said the city’s recent spike in violence, especially involving young people, is why focusing on engaging youth throughout local neighborhoods.

One of these summer programs is taking teens’ interest in clothing and designer wear, and turning it into something more.

“Since they’re into fashion, we can use fashion as a way to get them engaged,” said Yohannan Terrell, executive director for the Columbus Fashion Alliance.

Terrell said they provide a paid internship through their “Future of Fashion” program, which teaches students the fashion industry’s ins and outs.

“Everything that happens before it hits the shelves, so that’s logistics, that’s chemistry, that’s shipping, that’s marketing, that’s merchandising,” said Terrell.

The program influenced students like Christian Dowdy.

“I was the creative director, as far as like I learned, tried to get the aesthetic of the whole brand,” said Dowdy.

As a 19-year-old designer and high school graduate, Dowdy said this is something he hopes to build upon and see more of in the community.

“And I hope that these young kids get to experience programs like this too. Whether it’s fashion, sports, music, or anything, whatever it is, I hope they get to get out the house, but stay off the streets,” said Dowdy.

The Columbus Fashion Alliance has 20 students enrolled in this summer’s program, with plans to continue throughout the year.

For a list of the dozens of other summer youth programs in Columbus, you can visit the city’s website here.