City Council Regular Meeting


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CL-2517 New Business   Item #: E.       
Meeting Date: 04/06/2021  
Subject:    Project Imagine Grant
From: Cynthia Thomasson

First Reading:      04/06/2021                                                     
Final Adoption: 04/20/2021
This grant will provide funding for gang outreach workers who will reach out to identified gang members and link them to services and institutions, as well as provide access to resources to reduce attachment of youth to gangs and gang activities. The worker will serve as an advocate for the youth in securing social services, education, and job-related opportunities. The worker will provide appropriate referrals and maintain detailed documentation of all contact with youth. The grant will also provide funding for youth that enter into Project Imagine, to submit to a Clifton Strength-based assessment, Casey Life skills assessment, workforce readiness training, and life skills training. The youth will attend 15 hours of preparatory classes before they are allowed to begin at a Project Imagine worksite. The youth will receive incentives for goal achievement and for completion of the courses.

This grant covers funding for three years.
Project Imagine provides intervention for active gang members and high-risk youth. The program is a 9-week work readiness program for ages 15 to 21 that provides at-risk and gang-affiliated individuals with employment education and on the job training. The idea is that the program creates a positive "image" in the mind of the youth so that he or she can "Imagine" a life without gangs or crime. The participants receive hands-on training at a work-site, up to 40 hours per week through partnerships with city departments, non-profit organizations, and for-profit businesses. The program also guides the youth and family through referrals to additional services such as education, housing, and mental health.  The Department of Juvenile Justice, schools, and community agencies provide the referrals to the program and the program is funded through the Virginia Workforce YES program. Project Imagine has been effective in organizing partners and stakeholders, however with the appropriate funding, the program will have the additional staff to expand to the 18 and underage group in the city.
It is recommended City Council adopt the attached ordinance to provide funding for Project Imagine.



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