Mayor says grant will show young people we care

Mayor Sly James says Kansas City needs to let its youth know it won’t give up on them, and he hopes a $1 million federal grant will help do that.

Under the grant, an initiative called Face Forward KC will provide educational services, job training and placement services, mentoring services, and legal assistance to 150 juvenile offenders and at-risk youth.

Kansas City was one of only 20 cities in the nation to receive the grant from the United States Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration.

“Programs like Face Forward KC have the ability to completely transform neighborhoods, one life at a time,” the mayor said in a press release.

Face Forward KC will specifically target young people, aged 16 to 24, who are already in the juvenile justice system, or who are at-risk for criminal behavior, the city says. This project will bring together a coalition of community organizations, led by the Full Employment Council, to deliver services to participants with the goal of reducing their tendency to make negative life choices.  Stakeholders have already leveraged $1 million in federal funding to raise an additional $300,000 in-kind support from local philanthropic organizations.

“Face Forward KC is a natural next step from where we began our efforts to reconnect with this population of our youth with Project Rise,” James said, citing another city program that targets at-risk youth. “We can’t lose our young people to a life of crime and hopelessness because of poor choices they make early in life.  I’m looking forward to seeing the results of Face Forward KC and the lives that will be impacted because the community cared enough to not give up on these young people.”

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