City Council acted on two items at their Nov. 19 meeting that address the city’s goal of finding long-term solutions to gang violence:
- The first is an agreement to collaborate with a new organization spearheaded by former Hoggard High School student Bonnie Hu to provide additional after-school programming at the city’s MLK Community Center. The organization grew out of Hu’s three years of volunteer tutoring at the center and her subsequent award of a $2,000 internship stipend from UNCW, which she invested in programming at MLK.
Hu went on to form a non-profit organization for the initiative, which may be expanded if successful. The primary goal of the new non-profit, called Community Enrichment Initiatives, Inc., is to “support teaching high-risk, inner-city youth the skills to become successful in life.” CEI will be funded through donations. More information can be found here
- The second is additional local and federal funding for the non-profit LINC organization, which provides help to at risk men and women who are leaving prison to transition into crime-free lives. LINC’s state funding was cut this year and Council approved using $50,000 from its savings account and federal funding to offset those cuts.
Feedback from the city-sponsored ongoing community conversations on gangs has highlighted the need for both after school programming for at risk youth, as well as transitional assistance for those incarcerated for gang and drug related crimes, as a long-term way to help prevent gang violence. More information can be found here