TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — "It's just not the child but it's that family who are trying to survive to make it happen and usually that survival is what's causing those to go to the life of crime."
Dr. Argatha Gilmore is the Assistant Sheriff at the Leon County Sheriff's Office.
She says she's ready to roll out nearly $1.5 million dollars to the Council on the Status of Men and Boys to help reduce gun violence in the community.
"Connecting the service providers to the youth and to the families that we want to wrap around service."
The money will go towards hiring three new navigator positions ranging from community-based, school-based, and life-coach.
Their goal is to connect youth to the right services, find out who is being expelled and suspended from school, and provide constant check-in's so at-risk youth stay on the right track.
Some of this money will also go towards funding research into the background of crime in the community and ways to address social issues those youth are facing. Thar research will be done by Florida State University's criminology and criminal justice departments and will go directly to the council so they can improve their mission of reducing violent crimes among 15 to 24 year old men and boys.
Royle King is the Executive Director of the council and says, "We can say all day that we're doing good work but if we don't see where we're failing or succeeding then we're not being the best for our community or the funds that we receive."
This grant money is coming from the United States Department of Justice…part of a $100 million, nationwide Community Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative.
While King is grateful for this money, he says they will need more in the future.
"Now we need that additional funding so that we can provide the money to the entities that will help us based off their area of expertise to really create the change."
The money will be distributed to the council over the next 3 years. The council hopes to hire all 3 new navigators by January 1st, 2023.