Sweeney & Mazzeo Highlight Anti-Violence Youth Programs in Atlantic City
Trenton – To highlight recent initiatives aimed at combating the rise in gun violence, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo met today in Atlantic City with organizers and participants in a new local anti-violence program and discussed the city’s inclusion in a similar state initiative.
“Violent crime is a serious problem in our cities, so, we need programs that encourage community outreach and participation. Programs such as the Anti-Violence Out-of-School Youth Summer initiative have helped thousands of kids in New Jersey’s cities enjoy safe and stimulating summers. This year, not only did we include Atlantic City in the initiative, we also increased the overall funding for the program by $2 million,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “This approach can ensure the young people in our cities have opportunities to take part in productive and secure summer recreational activities.”
“Over the past year, gun violence has been on the rise in Atlantic City. Rather than make decisions that would perpetuate the violence, the state has been taking several steps to promote anti-violence initiatives and programs, such as ‘One Neighborhood Evolution’ and the Anti-Violence Out-of-School Youth Summer Program,” said Assemblyman Mazzeo (D-Atlantic), who worked to make Atlantic City’s inclusion in this program a budget priority this year. “With the help of trained members of the community, we can intervene and prevent violent crime before it occurs in Atlantic City neighborhoods. These kinds of programs give residents a stake in all kinds of success and pride in knowing they were a part of the positive change.”
Funding from the Anti-Violence Out-of-School Youth Summer Program will be used to enact separate programs and provide services seeking to combat violence in urban communities. In previous years, funding was used to provide education and job training to young people who are not succeeding in school, to create community-based violence reduction initiatives that help resolve conflict and provide victim services. The anti-violence initiative was awarded a total of $6 million in this year’s budget. The other cities included in the program are Paterson, Trenton and Newark.
Launched last fall, the One Neighborhood Evolution program is an Atlantic City initiative designed to train local and rehabilitated ex-offenders to prevent incidents of violent crime in the City through preventative intervention and/or mediation.
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