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Safety grant helping outreach efforts to prevent incarceration

Posted: 8:01 PM, Feb 27, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-28 00:42:16-05

COLORADO SPRINGS – A year after it started, we’re checking to see how a grant meant to help people stay out of the criminal justice system is helping local organizations.

The Transforming Safety Grant wants to prevent folks from ending up behind bars.

At Tuesday’s city council meeting, the City of Colorado Springs shared a proclamation to celebrate the project’s success.

The grant, which is funded through parole reform savings, has doled out close to  $2 million to 21 non-profits, including Inside Out Youth Services.

“Youth can come in and be off the streets and be connected with trusted adults,” said Jessie Pocock, the executive director of Inside Out Youth Services.

The group helps LGBTQ youth ages 13 to 22.

“LGBTQ  young people are more likely to try risky behavior,” explained Outreach Educator Sophie Thunberg.
“To get involved in substance use. Either be perpetrators or be victims of domestic violence. So we’re really here to help build relationships.”

The grant money is helping Inside Out Youth Services pay for three full-time employees so they can continue programs like their community dinners.

The organization TESSA, which helps victims of domestic violence, was able to make hires of their own and form a partnership with the Harrison School District to conduct trainings inside the classroom.

“We’re able to then reach more students and able to reach more personnel,” said Cynthia Negrete, the Youth and Children’s Program Manager at TESSA.

Every organization is working towards offering an alternative to violence or drugs.

“Providing them ways we can have healthy discussions,” Negrete added.

TESSA received $95,000 in grant money during the first round of distributions in June of 2018.
Inside Out Youth Services received $25,000 in grant money in November of 2018 during the second round of distributions.

The first group of organizations is gearing up to re-apply for its grants.