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Knoxville leaders approve more than $27,000 to fund youth spring break programs

Officials said they hope the programs also help dismantle barriers many young people may face towards success.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Knoxville City Council approved more than $27,000 in grant funding to support local organizations offering spring break opportunities for young people.

The Spring Break Opportunity Youth Engagement Micro-Grant program provides small grants to organizations offering programs to connect young people with positive networks for social, personal and community development -- with a goal of reducing youth violence in the community. 

A total of 10 organizations will receive grants between $2,000 and $3,000 to support activities between Knox County Schools' spring break on March 14-18, including the Emerald Youth Foundation, Karate Five Association, Gold Key Access, Muse Knoxville, SEEED Knox, My Daughter’s Journey, YWCA Knoxville and the Tennessee Valley, The Bottom, Canvas Can Do Miracles, and MYNARK Tribe.

The grants are part of Mayor Indya Kincannon's $1 million emergency allocation toward violence interruption and prevention activities.

Officials said they hope the program will also help dismantle barriers many young people may face towards success. Specifically, the program was created after officials found that breaks in school and recreational programming created opportunities to engage with kids who are at risk for being involved in violent crime.

Officials call them "opportunity youth," and the city is hoping to reach them on new levels through this program, supporting organizations that put boots on the ground and work with communities directly.

The city issued similar grants in 2021, and 13 local agencies received $200,000 to address violence and empower youth in the community.

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