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Mayor Bowser Highlights Community-Based Programs Aimed at Reducing Gun Violence

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

(Washington, DC) Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of Gun Violence Prevention (OGVP) Director Linda Harllee Harper announced that 20 residents are receiving up to $5,000 each in Building Blocks DC grant funding as part of the Administration’s comprehensive approach to reducing gun violence. This $100,000 funding adds to Mayor Bowser’s $1.2 million cumulative investment in supporting residents who offer gun violence prevention work in their communities. Mayor Bowser also observed the workshop, “The BUILD UP, Transformative Building Blocks for Getting to the Best Version of YOU” facilitated by Thandor Miller, a BBDC grantee. The workshop is designed to help young adults address some of the challenges in their life and provide emotional tools to help them change their lives.

“We know that building a safer, stronger, and more peaceful DC requires the entire community working together,” said Mayor Bowser. “I wake up every morning thinking about the safety of our community, and we have residents across all eight wards who do the same. These grants support members of the community who are putting their passion for a safer DC into action and developing programs that will change and save lives.” 

The mini grants are part of Building Blocks DC (BBDC), the District’s gun violence reduction strategy coordinated by OGVP. Building Blocks DC provides a whole-of-government approach to addressing gun violence, and the grants program helps the community take an active role in the fight against gun violence.

“The mini-grants offer residents the opportunity to be a part of the solution to our city's gun violence,” said OGVP Director Harllee Harper. “During this spring cycle of grants, we received a historically high number of applications, and the process was extremely competitive. The grant reviewers spoke about the creativity and innovation found within the applications. We congratulate the winners and look forward to the summer cycle of grants.”

The $5,000 grants will be used to create activities that engage residents, leaders, and organizations to promote public safety. Grants awarded this round are for:

  • BEST Kids Against Guns and Violence to host a 4-week summer program in Ward 8. These sessions will be a safe space for youth to address gun violence and its effects on their communities amongst mentees, mentors, staff, and other community stakeholders.
  • Breathing For Change to host a 6-week series in Ward 8 based around yoga and mindfulness, specifically the practice of restorative yoga which can shift the balance between one’s fight-or-flight response to a relaxation state.
  • Carrier’s the Exit Plan-Phase II to engage with youth through schools in Ward 5. Youth will participate in a project that allows them to give voice to how gun violence in their community has affected them and what they believe are some solutions to the problem.
  • CLEAN DC with Meaning will use neighborhood outreach to build community cohesion and engagement via block cleanings in Ward 7.
  • From the Streets to Wall Street to work directly with youth to provide financial education and travel to New York City to visit the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
  • East End Market (EEM) for a program that will teach prosocial behaviors and entrepreneurship in Ward 7.
  • Garden Tools Not Guns at the Garden of EDEN to provide young adults in Ward 8 with job development and life skills building.
  • In TRAPP We TRUST, a young adult led organization established by youth, young adults, and their families in DC who have been involved in public systems due to trauma.
  • Jobs Not Guns: Overcoming Barriers to Employment to provide an opportunity citywide for District residents to identify and obtain the training and/or support services needed to successfully navigate the employment arena.
  • Saturday Strong 2.0 to host a 4-week mentoring program for ages 14-17.
  • Screening and Discussion of Lorton: Prison of Terror to host a screening and discussion in Ward 8 of the documentary Lorton: Prison of Terror.
  • Stop the Violence Pledge- Celebrate not Incarcerate for a project to be held during The Juneteenth Foundation Freedom Reception Block party in Franklin Park in Ward 2.
  • T.U.F.F. (Teens United for Freedom Fighting) to provide a personal and community wellness ministry to teens in Ward 7.
  • The Build Up: Building Blocks for Getting to the Best Version of You to provide tools to help youth develop skills and apply life strategies that will become part of creating their best new version of self. 
  • Under the Lights: Friday Night Tournament to host a flag football league in Ward 8 that will be offered at no cost to 25 DC youth, ages 10-13.
  • Water Works Community Day to provide information on reducing homicides and shootings by establishing relationships with people in the Ward 8 community who are at the center of gun violence.
  • We Heal By WeFitDC to combine community cleaning, yoga, and boxing activities over a four-week period to combat and bring awareness to gun violence in Ward 8.
  • Young Men of Valor and Excellence (YMOVE) to provide a mentoring program for boys ages 9-15 in Ward 8.
  • Youth Creating Change to provide a mentoring program for 30 youth in Wards 7 and 8.
  • Youth Entrepreneur Day to provide entrepreneurship and financial literacy programming for youth across the District. 

Progressive Life Center, a nonprofit, community-based organization dedicated to improving the delivery of mental health services to individuals and families, assists OGVP in managing the BBDC grant program. Applications are now available for the summer cycle of grants. The deadline to submit applications is June 30, 2022. For more information, please visit

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