HAMPTON, Va. — Hampton entered 2023 with a wave of violence, and the trend is impacting many.
“It is really something that touches on the pulse of our young people when they see their peers, family members or loved ones being succumbed to violence,” Latiesha Handie said, the director of Hampton’s Office of Youth and Young Adult Opportunities.
City staff are now testing out a new way to connect with youth through the Hopeful Hampton Ambassador Program.
“Bringing awareness to the impacts of youth violence and how their voice creates a change for our community,” Handie said.
It’s a 12-week program empowering young people to set goals, create events and discuss solutions for youth violence in the city.
Handie said the program is possible through funding from the Attorney General’s Office and Congressman Bobby Scott.
“We were just awarded a $4.6 million grant for our gun violence intervention efforts,” she said.
Handie hopes the program will change the behavior of young people impacted by violence.
“We are training and conditioning you to be the leaders known to Hampton to be able to activate our community voices,” she said.
This is a pilot program the city is hoping to sustain for at least four years. The program is expected to begin on March 6 and end on June 8.
She said she's already seeing an abundance of applications hit her desk.
You must be a Hampton student between the ages of 16 to 19. You can apply through the city's website. The deadline to apply is February 20th.