WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski, joined with Congressman Elijah Cummings (all D-MD) today to announce that the Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence has received a grant of almost $1.3 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to implement and evaluate a strategy to prevent youth violence in Baltimore. The Center will collaborate its efforts over a five year period with the Mayor’s Office, Baltimore City Public Schools, City and State agencies, community organizations and other youth-oriented groups.
“Youth should be a time of personal growth, optimism and promise for the future, but too many of our young have turned to violence in the face of economic despair and toxic living environments,” said Senator Cardin. “I am proud of Johns Hopkins’ critical efforts to reduce youth violence in Baltimore and redirect high-risk youth towards a path of safety and empowerment. This funding will go a long way in improving the lives of countless young people in Baltimore.”
“I believe in investing in Maryland’s communities, and that means creating opportunities for Maryland’s youth,” Senator Mikulski said. “We know that prevention and intervention programs tailored for at-risk youth are a critical tool in transforming the lives of our young people. The Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence will help children learn and grow in a safe environment. It will help children learn how to say no to violence.”
“I often tell people that our children are the living messages we send to a future we will never see,” said Congressman Cummings. “For us to allow violence and crime to consume that future from a young age is morally unacceptable to me, and I know that we can do better as a society. The most important goal for children in our society must be to stay alive, so that they may use the gifts, and reach the potential, that God has instilled in them. For children in some communities, that simple goal of survival can be difficult. It is my greatest hope that this grant, and the program it supports, will help keep more of our children alive, and thriving, to send a message of hope to the future of Baltimore and Maryland.”
The Center will use the grant to continue providing outreach to high-risk youth, mediating potentially violent conflicts, and promoting community-wide social norms that eschew violence. It will also focus on decreasing the youth unemployment rate by connecting young people with job opportunities. Community efforts will be complementary to school programs which have been shown to prevent bullying, promote safe and supportive environments and positive youth development.
The Center operates under the Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. Center faculty are affiliated with Johns Hopkins Schools of Public Health, Medicine, Nursing, Education, and Arts and Sciences. Its Directors are Drs. Philip Leaf, Daniel Webster, Catherine Bradshaw and Debra Furr-Holden.