Catholic Charities joins initiative to help young victims of gang violence

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton will be part of a new community coalition that will help youth victimized by gang violence in Greater Trenton, under an initiative made possible by a $316,000 federal grant.

PEI Kids received a three-year grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to create The Greater Trenton Outreach to Support Youth Victims of Gang Violence. At least eight community agencies, including Catholic Charities, will partner on the project.

Catholic Charities’ Family Growth Program in Ewing will provide therapeutic services and youth and their families. Other partners committed so far include: Capital Health Regional Medical Center, Mercer County Department of Human Services, Capital County Children’s Collaborative/Care Management Organization, The Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, Youth Advocate Programs, and YWCA Princeton.

A capital city concern

The grant is part of federal authorities’ effort to assist communities grappling with high levels of gang violence. Trenton leaders have blamed gangs for shootings and retaliatory violence, which recently ranked high on a list of “Most Miserable Cities in America” in part because “neighborhood gangs have been known to fight one another.” Indeed, a deadly shooting at Trenton’s popular Art All Night made national headlines in 2018 (pictured, above, is a memorial that appeared on Calhoun Street for one of the gunmen, who died in the shootout).

The project, which should be operational by January, will be based on a multidisciplinary team (MDT) response model. Besides helping affected youth, a key goal is to enhance public safety in the community.

Catholic Charities’ Family Growth Program serves children and families affected by violence and abuse. In April, it expanded to new offices in the Scotch Plaza at 1239 Parkway Ave. in Ewing.

PEI Kids, a nonprofit founded in 1985, works with youth and their families, educators, and caregivers to provide Prevention, Education and Intervention programs relating to personal safety; sexual abuse; delinquency prevention; and the overall well-being of the child.

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For more information about PEI Kids and the Greater Trenton Outreach to Support Victims of Gang Violence project, call (609) 695-3739 or go to www.facebook.com/peikidsnj; or Dana DiFilippo, Catholic Charities communications, ddifilippo@cctrenton.org or (609) 394-5181, ext. 1153.

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