Group gets BOLD funding to fight gun violence in Birmingham

Published: Dec. 13, 2022 at 11:13 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A non-profit that seeks to reduce gun violence is among several that received support from the city of Birmingham to advance economic opportunity.

The Surge Project has 40 spaces for young adults who want to learn soft skills. Working with the National Training Institute for Healthcare Technicians, participants in the program will have an opportunity to become certified healthcare professionals.

While the program is for people between 18 and 35, founder Teandria Ellis says they often work with children and teenagers, including some who have had experience with the juvenile justice system.

“We want all, all of those youth and young adults who are experiencing trauma in any way,” says Ellis. “Those who have experienced juvenile detention centers, suspensions in school, who have been labeled as troubled because we understand that sometimes students and youth, they act out on the basis of what’s happening to them, and they’re not always able to communicate how those things are impacting them. And we see it show up in their behaviors, and then we label them according to that without understanding their stories.”

Ellis says the group, which got $80,000 from the city’s Building Opportunities for Lasting Development (BOLD) Fund, bases its approach on research she says suggests extreme income inequality leads to increases in violence. So the surge project seeks to put participants on the path to economic growth.

The work of the Surge Project is also personal for Ellis, who lost her brother Terrell to violence 10 years ago.

“My brother would be the type of young Black man we are aiming for with our program. He had a lot of potential, a lot of talent and he definitely left us way too soon,” she says. “We wanna see some winning in our communities and we wanna help as many young men and women not have the ending story like my brother’s was.

The Surge Project plans to open slots in that program early next year.

You can contact them at thesurgeproject.org.

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