GRASP (Gang Rescue and Support Project) - Next's Word of Thanks
by Metro Denver Partners
Fundraiser launched on November 17, 2021 by Kyle
GRASP (Gang Rescue and Support Project) is part of a coalition of non-profits responding to support young Coloradans in Aurora and Denver following the drive-by shooting injured six teenage students outside Aurora Central High School on November 15.

GRASP is a peer-run, intervention program that works with youth who are at-risk of gang involvement or are presently active in gangs, helps families of gang victims, and serves as a youth advocate. GRASP works so well because it is primarily run by ex-gang members who broke free of the gang life-style and turned their lives around. The staff understands how difficult it is to make this transition and the challenges facing youth who do it. Established in 1991 after a tragic 'drive-by' shooting death of a teen, GRASP has evolved into a highly respected and successful program of Denver Youth Program, a non-profit organization, that for over 51 years has helped kids to better futures through one-on-one mentoring.

Next with Kyle Clark's Word of Thanks microgiving campaign is supporting GRASP's work in Aurora and Denver to prevent youth violence. Each $40,000 raised funds a GRASP Community-Based Gang Violence Intervention Specialist's work for one year.

The GRASP Enterprises program is a youth employment initiative that trains and employs participants in a GRASP-run silk-screening and embroidery business. Participants learn employment, social and financial skills through pre-employment skills training, on-the-job employment experience, and eventually, transition to the corporate workforce. Through this process, youth gain job training/ employment skills and offer a positive solution for youth trying to leave the gang lifestyle. The GRASP Enterprises Academy is a weekly (six-weeks), two-hour training opportunity for youth to learn basic job skills, production in silk screening and sales techniques. The Academy also serves as a pre-screening mechanism to bring appropriate youth into the full program. Upon successful completion of the Academy, youth will receive a stipend for a job well done.

The GRASP Youth Park Guide Program is run through a partnership with Greater Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) and fosters stewardship for the city's natural resources, and provides a safe environment for youth in the community. It strives to make good behavior and interaction in our parks a culture by providing engaging, thematic, and interpretive environmental programming. The GRASP Youth Park Guide program was created in response to the over-policing that is typical in Northeast Denver parks where people of color gather to enjoy nature and the outdoors. The GRASP Youth Park Guide position is a stipend job position where young people connect, explore, and inspire themselves and other neighborhood youth through creative environmental interpretation and outdoor education. Youth can also receive specialized training and workforce development by participating in mentoring, further exploring nature and outdoor careers, and enhanced job readiness skills.

GRASP is a partner in AIM (At-risk Intervention and Mentoring) at Denver Health and UCH Hospitals. AIM is a team of community outreach workers who provide bedside interventions to violently injured youth and adults. Capitalizing on the

teachable moment, Outreach guide victims of violence to a less risky lifestyle, post injury, by providing case-management and support to family members. AIM outreach are a valuable source of support and resources for both patients and medical personnel during a patient's crisis or trauma. Last year, AIM provided over 600 bedside interventions to Denver and Aurora's most vulnerable populations.

GRASP and FACES for the Future-Denver provides internship opportunities, high school completion support, comprehensive support services, and a series of professional certifications to underserved High School students pursuing health professions. The FACES model provides a holistic long-term approach to developing health care advocates and future credible messengers and leaders in health careers.

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Thank you for your generous support of GRASP and all of the small-to-mid-sized non-profits featured through Next's Word of Thanks microgiving campaigns.
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