MEDFORD, Ore. — On Wednesday, the Jackson County Commissioners approved a grant which will go to educating children throughout the county about the dangers of gangs.
The grant money can be used immediately and may have a longer lasting impact than it appears. More than $31,000 in grant money has been awarded to implement a juvenile services gang intervention program. This program looks to erase some of the graffiti caused by gangs in Jackson County, all while making a bigger impact on the community.
“The cleaning up the neighborhoods, removing that graffiti, I know that was a big issue with a lot of the community residents, especially in the White City area,” said Joe Ferguson, with Jackson County Community Justice.
Children ranging from groups of elementary school students to groups of high school students will participate in the program, which will meet three times a week over the span of four months. Officials say the groups will be small to ensure the program connects to the children.
“We wanted to start with a small enough group where we are going to reach some of the kids. If you start with too many kids, then it’s tough in that group process to really connect with the kids,” Ferguson said.
The grant money will be used to buy supplies to remove graffiti and a curriculum to inform youth about problems with gangs. Officials say, as a result, the grant will have a longer lasting effect than just this year.
“We’re purchasing the basic things, you know, ladders, paint brushes and all that. So that’s our sustainability in terms of continuing after the one year grant,” explained Ferguson.
The grant was just approved by county commissioners on Wednesday morning and an exact timeline of when the project will be up and running is uncertain; however, officials are aiming to begin in May.