Columbus youth programs receive funding to help combat crime in community

EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated “40% of deaths in Georgia are homicides.” The statistic has been corrected to “40% of gun deaths in Georgia are homicides.” We apologize for the error.

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Victims of crimes in our area are getting younger and younger, according to a local coroner. So much so that an organization is investing more than $50,000 into local youth programs.

Every Town for Gun Safety averages gun-related crimes and incidents from 2018-2021. The site states, on average, 1,868 people die in Georgia each year from gun deaths. 40% percent of those gun deaths are homicides according to the site’s EveryStat tool. Firearms are the leading cause of death among children and teens in the state, with Muscogee County leading the way as one of the top three cities for those types of deaths.

Jonathan Perkins is the founder of Fountain City Slam, a youth organization geared towards helping youth express themselves through poetry. His organization and five others received thousands of dollars in grants from money raised during the Black History Observance Breakfast held earlier in the year. Perkins says he works with youth daily, and high crime rates concern him. He believes help like this to keep his organization going will aid in reducing crime.

The tradition of giving thousands of dollars to area nonprofits by way of Congressman Bishop Sanford dates back 38 years, and today, six organizations are on the list to receive money helping the community. The CEO of the Learning Center, Samantha Daniels-Cooper, says although she isn’t an educator by trade, her organization helps with tutoring, STEM projects and homework help.

Most of the organizations received between $5,000 and $12,000. Those organizations are as follows,

  • The Plummer House
  • The Learning Center
  • Girls, Inc.
  • Tree of Life Healthcare, Inc.
  • The Fountain City Slam
  • The W.H. Spencer Golden Owlettes
Katrice Nolan

Katrice Nolan

Katrice joined News Leader 9 in May 2022.