JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Delores Barr Weaver presented a $74,000 donation Friday to the Police Athletic League.
Weaver matched a $50 payout every citizen received during a gun buyback program by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
The gun buybacks earlier this year were sponsored by JSO in an effort to reduce gun violence by paying $50 for any unwanted, operable firearm, no questions asked. Weaver showed her support for Jacksonville's youth by matching the $50 payout that citizens received, with a $50 pledge to PAL for each gun turned in.
At Friday's announcement at the 33rd Street PAL, Weaver presented PAL Executive Director Lt. Lakeisha Burton with a check for $74,000, as an unrestricted general operating grant for PAL programs.
"I believe it is important to understand the many ways gun violence can affect our youth," Weaver said. "These investments in prevention and intervention with PAL are a way to give young people a chance to break through barriers that exist in their challenged neighborhoods."
Weaver also announced two new funding initiatives that will support PAL's mission to impact Jacksonville's youth. The support comes from the Delores Barr Weaver Fund.
The first supports PAL's already-established Youth Development Council (YDC) program, where children between the ages of 14 and 18 have the opportunity to gain leadership and workforce skills through a variety of organized programs. Weaver will be funding employment stipends specifically for the young men in the program to allow them to work with collaborative partner, Load King, during school breaks.
The second is a new initiative. It is the funding of a licensed mental health counselor at PAL's Northside PAL facility (2165 West 33rd St.). This first-of-its-kind program will provide both group and individual therapy to support PAL children that have faced trauma, grief and violence. This pilot program is in collaboration with Daniel, a nonprofit mental health services provider in Jacksonville, which will identify and manage the counselor, related activities and data collection. The PAL staff will work closely with the counselor and will also receive training in appropriate mental health interventions and referrals.
"These funding initiatives are enabling PAL to advance to the next level," Burton said. "We are so grateful for the support from Delores Barr Weaver. Her commitment to helping PAL will enable us to continue to provide much needed services to Jacksonville's youth."
The mission of the Police Athletic League is to reduce juvenile crime and promote positive values, character and leadership skills through programs in the community.
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