Town of Gresham launches New Youth Services Division program to reduce violence

GRESHAM Ore. (KPTV) – With crime on the rise in our town and beyond, the town of Gresham is aiming to reduce violence through its new youth services scheme.

“I think COVID has set the whole country back, especially East County with the crime and violence that it’s seen, just because a lot of kids have a lot more free time than they don’t. have ever had,” said Marcell Frazier, violence coordinator with the city.

Frazier said the Violence Prevention Program will allocate $2 million in grants that will be used to address youth violence and gun violence in our community.

“So what we did with the money is they hired me, we created a new youth and family division, and there’s a manager above me. Then we donated approximately $1.3 million to community organizations,” Frazier said.

The funding will go to five large organizations to start with; Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center, Latino Network, Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization, New Avenues For Youth and AS-IS Church/GRIT Underground.

Frazier said it would provide a much-needed boost to organizations that have worked for decades to bring about change.

“Organizations were pleased to be able to secure funding to work here, as we know many of these community organizations are extremely small, understaffed and underfunded, and each will be receiving nine new staff,” Frazier said. .

So what activities will these programs provide to keep our youth off the streets? Frazier said there are a variety.

“Some of the CBOs will be offering gang awareness activities, some of them are teen basketball nights or soccer camps. These are just community meetings or community activities. Historically, all of these activities have been limited to the Portland metro area,” Frazier said.

Fraizer added that there are no boundaries when it comes to serving our youth.

“Some kids can commit crimes in Gresham, some kids can live in Gresham and go to Portland and do things. So we’re trying to make sure that there’s no border, that there’s like all of East County or all of Portland, all of Gresham working together.

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