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GRBJ: Task force wants to make city SAFE

Individuals and organizations can share ideas at pitch and highlight night later this month.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (GRBJ) - An alliance of Grand Rapids city staff, nonprofit and business organizations is reaching out to the community to gather ideas to reduce violence among youth.

The Safe Alliances for Everyone (SAFE) Task Force will listen to public ideas to end violence in the Grand Rapids community at a pitch and highlight night on June 25. The event goes from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Grand Rapids Public Schools Administration Building, 1331 Franklin St. SE.

Participants will get five minutes to present their idea and show how it will be effective in reducing violence in Grand Rapids. Ideas must address issues that 15- to 24-year-olds in the community face. A panel of up to five judges will review proposals and applications, and all winners will report on their progress to the SAFE Task Force at a later date.

Nonprofits will compete for a partnership with the SAFE Task Force and $10,000 to support their efforts to reduce violence in the community. Individuals will compete for the partnership and $1,000 to support their concepts. The Task Force will fund up to five organizations and two individuals for a total of $52,000.

Third Ward Commissioner Senita Lenear leads the task force made up of both city staff and community members.

“Some of the best ideas to reduce violence in Grand Rapids come from our own community,” Lenear said. “The SAFE Task Force wants to promote and assist in the achievement of those ideas. We look forward to listening to these pitches and learning about new proposals that can benefit all of Grand Rapids.”

Community organizations partnered with SAFE include Spectrum Health, the Steelcase Foundation, Network 180, Heart of West Michigan United Way, LINC UP, the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan and Grand Rapids Community College, as well as out-of-state organizations like South Bend Group Violence Intervention in South Bend, Indiana, and NOLA for Life in New Orleans.

The SAFE Task Force partners with businesses and community organizations to lower violence in communities with a focus on issues facing 15- to 24-year-old residents, gun violence, lack of pro-social opportunities and mental health issues.

To read the full article, visit GRBJ.com or pick up a copy on news stands throughout Grand Rapids. 

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