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Columbus leaders allocate more than $16 million for youth education, violence prevention programs

Of the funding provided, Ginther said nearly $8 million will go toward programs to promote safety among the city’s younger population.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus city leaders announced more than $16 million in funding on Thursday for summer youth programs aimed at preventing violence and promoting education. 

Of the funding provided, Ginther said nearly $8 million will go toward programs to promote safety among the city’s younger population. An additional $5.3 million will be allocated toward mentorship and educational opportunities, while another roughly $3 million will go to workforce development programs.  

One of the opportunities available is Columbus City Schools’ free Summer Experience program, which provides six weeks of hands-on learning activities for students in grades Pre-K through 12. The deadline to enroll in that program is May 20.   

“Every young person can do something fun and meaningful this summer. Whether that’s getting a first job with the Recreation and Parks Department, going to our many summer camps, doing a creative industry internship with partners like the Columbus Fashion Alliance, or attending unique events with groups like My Brother’s Keeper,” said Council President Shannon Hardin.

The funding couldn’t come at a more “crucial” time, according to Ginther. It comes as the community continues to rebound from pandemic losses. 

“I would argue that our young people were disproportionately impacted during the pandemic,” said Ginther. “And as a community, we need to commit to restorative investments in our young people.” 

Funds include $14.4 million from the American Rescue Plan and the city’s General Fund. Columbus City Council will contribute an additional $1.8 million from the Reimagining Safety Fund, according to a release from the city. 

Last year, city officials allocated nearly $20 million in federal funding to youth engagement programs in an effort to combat youth violence in Columbus. Through a combined effort, Ginther said program organizers were able to enroll 38,000 people between the ages of 5 and 20 in various summer programming opportunities.  

You can view a full list of organizations set to receive funding by clicking here

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