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FOX 17 News West Michigan

City of Kalamazoo approves $50K grant to address gun violence

By Yasmeen Ludy,


Kalamazoo city commissioners approved a $50,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to help put a stop to gun violence. A portion of the money is set to go to Urban Alliance .

“Community violence is one of many issues in our community, but it's one that we're standing in and supporting during this time,” Urban Alliance Executive Director Terra Baustista said.

City of Kalamazoo approves $50K grant to reduce gun violence

The money will go toward the organization's Change of Status program , which gives men an opportunity to work closely with mentors for 12 weeks.

“At the root of it all, our mission is the transformation of the individual. So we continue to provide services that are transformational and highly relational,” Baustista explained.

The program allows them to change their lives in a safe and nonjudgmental environment.

Outreach Manager James Harris says many of their mentors can relate to what the participants are going through because they were once in their shoes.

Participants will meet with their mentors on a weekly basis and develop a personal improvement plan. Harris says each week, mentors and mentees will work on removing barriers.

While the program directly focuses on men, he says it impacts children in the long run.

“We want to give, you know, the next generation an opportunity, you know, to live their lives out. It's very heartbreaking to see a young person's life be ended prematurely,” he told FOX 17.

To register for the Change of Status program, click here .

More A Path Forward coverage.

Check out our list of community resources available to help in West Michigan.

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