Roanoke’s Gun Violence Prevention Commission focuses on prevention programs,building relationships

A new round of mini-grants worth $100,000 will be awarded to help curb gun violence

Roanoke's Gun Violence Prevention Commission is a step closer to distributing hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants.

ROANOKE, Va. – During Tuesday night’s Gun Violence Prevention Commission meeting in Roanoke, leaders discussed programs that focus on violence prevention, intervention and interruption.

Youth mentor from Melrose Library, Eddy Watkins spoke about the importance of building relationships with kids.

“Basically what I try to do is steer the kids in the right direction. Give them the best advice I can give them, not really give them the mentor approach, but try more so to be the big brother,” said Watkins.

Mentorships like the one Watkins is a part of and other programs are being considered for the commission’s mini-grants.

City leaders are sorting through 37 applications, trying to choose what programs will be awarded money.’

“Those will fit into two categories. Mini grants, which will range between five to ten thousand dollars to focus on prevention and intervention programs. And then the violence interruption grants which are two years which will range from twenty-five to fifty thousand dollars,” said Chairman Joe Cobb.

With over $100,000 in grants to give, Watkins hopes more programs will help to meet the needs of families in Roanoke, while also creating a better environment for neighborhoods stricken by gun violence.

“We need to focus on that. The academic needs, the economic needs, developing the community physically,” said Watkins.

Commission leaders say the winner of the mini-grants will be announced in the coming weeks.

About the Author:

Sydney joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2021.