Urban Upbound’s Response to Gun Violence

By Tori Kammer Development and Communication Manager

Urban Upbound, has been providing community based support for nearly two decades across the city, providing job training, credentialing and placement in high-paying jobs, alongside financial empowerment and other wrap-around support services. With the rise of gun violence nation wide, Urban Upbound has been working to address the long-standing issues and inequities that often lead to gun homicides and assaults in historically underfunded and low-income communities.

Urban Upbound is a proud partner in the State’s Gun Violence Prevention and Employment Initiative run by CWE, which targets young adults ages 18–24. This initiative treats gun violence as a public health crisis and includes short-term solutions as well as long-term strategies that focus on community-based intervention and prevention strategies to break the cycle of violence. A key component of prevention strategy is to provide access to and readiness for career opportunities for young adults in low-income communities. In the past 10 months alone, Urban Upbound has reached over 350 young adults and has directly placed just over 100 in jobs.

“We are stopping violence at the inception by creating pathways to meaningful employment. We are specifically targeting young adults who need the tools, resources, and encouragement, to break into the workforce,” shared Diana Coleman, Gun Violence Initiative Director at Urban Upbound.

In tangent with our Gun Violence Initiative, we have expanded our services to offer free mental health counseling and have had an intentional focus on mental health and wellness in our programs.

“Now, more than ever, it is imperative we are addressing the mental health crisis in our community,” says Corwin Mason, Mental Health and Wellness Coordinator at Urban Upbound. “Everyone needs someone to talk to and we are lending an ear to voices that are usually unheard. I am proud to be a part of the team offering free mental health services to our clients.”

Recently, our East Harlem Office launched the Self Healing Experience (S.H.E) Series, which offers events and programs designed to break the stigma around mental health and encourages woman in the community to assess their own mental state.

With a rich history of advocating for safety, Urban Upbound has also committed to collaborative efforts to protect children and young adults from violence. In collaboration with The Office of Neighborhood Safety, and the New York Department of Criminal Justice, we have been able to administer violence intervention projects proposed by Subcontractors, as well as employ and engage local artists to lead tailored cultural projects with resident stewards to conduct healing work through our Love Where You Live Campaign. Through the Love Where you Live Campaign, we have distributed funds to 32 organizations across all five boroughs.

Love Where You Live Grant Recipients — Photo Credit: Urban Upbound

“We each have a role to play in fostering safe neighborhoods and ensuring violence is eradicated from them. We firmly believe that solutions developed from within the communities most affected result in greater and more lasting success. The moment is now,” says Bishop Mitchell Taylor, Co-Founder & CEO of Urban Upbound.

Our efforts to end gun violence in our neighborhood wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of our donors. Your donation allows us to contiune programing that keeps our community safe. If you’d like to learn more about our impact and work, please follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube) or subscribe to our newsletter.

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Urban Upbound NYC

A collection of stories around NYC’s public housing communities curated by Urban Upbound, a non-profit organization with a mission to break cycles of poverty.