The Haverhill YMCA and two Lawrence-based organizations are among 67 organizations told Wednesday they are sharing in more than $15 million in grants through the state’s Community Empowerment and Reinvestment Program.
The money is aimed at communities adversely impacted by the criminal justice system and poverty. Flexible operating grants are awarded to local teams for programming and projects that develop, strengthen and invest in community economic priorities. The Haverhill YMCA was awarded $160,000 to support the mental health and behavioral needs of at-risk youth, and to decrease their likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors such as substance abuse and criminal activity, through the Positive Alternative to School Suspension, or PASS, program.
Gov. Maura Healey said, “The Community Empowerment and Reinvestment Program is reshaping our communities by providing resources for programs that strengthen our communities through job training, small business support, housing stability and more.”
YMCA’s PASS efforts provide an alternative to traditional suspension models by instead offering a therapeutic environment where students can access mental and behavioral health services to help them work through their issues to prevent further disciplinary occurrences.
Lawrence Family Development, known as Lawrence Prospera, was awarded $250,000 for its SISU Basketball geared to young people, both boys and girls, living in Lawrence. Participants were involved with the juvenile justice system, and at highest risk for gang recruitment. All participants are referred by the courts, the Lawrence Police, Lawrence Public Schools and/or recruited by the SISU Outreach team.
TLE Center for Urban Entrepreneurship received $150,000 to serve incarcerated women at Salisbury Re-Entry Center and engage them through makeup artistry training. Incarcerated males at the Lawrence Pre-Release and Re-Entry Center may receive braiding technique training.
Allowed project categories under the grant program include community-based workforce development, small business development, housing stabilization, community health improvement, high school dropout prevention and community organizing and leadership development.