The new division will also run a youth violence prevention program, all made possible by a $2 million grant from the American Rescue Plan Act.
GRESHAM, Ore. — The town of Gresham has launched a new youth services division to help young people find other opportunities and things to do, hopefully preventing crime.
Part of the division will include a violence prevention coordinator, a new position filled by Marcelle Frazier.
“There’s definitely been a spike in gun violence and a spike in shootings and we understand with COVID they’ve had no service,” Frazier said.
Frazier said part of his job is to invest grant money in community organizations to provide services to young people. The goal is to avoid them. The $2 million grant came from the American Rescue Plan Act and was approved late last year.
“We just want to provide them with some positivity and something to do,” Frazier said. “Right now Fridays and Saturdays are really dangerous times for our young people. Our community organizations have been around for about 20 or 30 years. They do a great job, now they have the funds to do a lot of that work here in Gresham.”
Youth services director Emon Ghassemi said the division will focus primarily on events and activities.
“Our first program will start here in April,” Ghassemi said. “It will be night basketball. It will be the goal of middle and high school students.”
The division is still in the planning stage. They also work on internship programs for young people.
“When they’re young, maybe 10 or 11, get them into programs that will occupy their time until they’re 18, which hopefully will lead them to a productive life,” Frazier said.
There will be more upcoming events and activities, people can search this website for more information. The Violence Prevention Program grant will only last until 2023. It may be extended.