Grant to help Fall River curb youth, gang violence

The fight against youth and gang violence continues in Fall River where the mayor just received money to try to save some kids.

The city received $414,500 on Friday in a Shannon Grant.

The Massachusetts backed grant provides support for youth outreach organizations and provides police support against violence. Both public officials and young people say this money is important to help Fall River improve its violence problem.

Brent Prescott says the youth intervention programs at Greater Fall River Re-creation are critical to his success. He says the center is in part why he's steps away from where he was a year ago.

"I was actually incarcerated," he said.

The 18-year-old served time for armed robbery.

"The reason why I committed the crime was lack of money something to do basically," he said.

After jail, Prescott teamed up with the youth outreach programs at the center. They gave him a full-time job and the support to stay out of trouble.

In fact, most of the teens there were part of either the Shannon Program or Safe and Successful Youth. The center helps nearly 200 troubled youths with mentors and job placement.

The grant money also helps programs at the Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA.

"We're giving them a place to belong," said Fall River Police Chief Daniel Racine.

As well as those programs, about one-third of the grant money will also help Fall River police monitor teen violence and the organized gangs in the city.

Racine said youth outreach programs have made his job a lot easier.

"I would say it's less of an issue today than it was 10 years ago," he said. "I think it's less of an issue because of the resources they've put into gangs - in particular youth."

"Most kids aren't trying to get into gangs," Prescott said. "Some kids are actually trying to get released from gangs. They come here for help."

Just one of many places in Fall River where they can learn what they need to succeed.