LAWRENCE — A Lawrence nonprofit is hoping to provide a safe space and new opportunities at the track. "AthLead Indy Track & Field" currently serves 65 young people in and around Indianapolis and Marion County.
The track and field club not only provides coaching in the sport, but mentorship through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana, volunteering and service opportunities.
It started in November by All-American track and field athlete and coach, Willie Little.
"We went through this whole entire year of just trash and people were like hating on each other...and I just felt like not being one of those people online and I wanted to act," Little said.
AthLead Indy is one of several organizations that recently received grant money through the Council District Crime Prevention Grants Program. The program is awarding a total of $1.1 million to grassroots groups based on a data-driven formula. A little more than $400,000 was distributed through the first round of the program ran by the Indianapolis City-County Council, the Office of Public Health and Safety and Central Indiana Community Foundation. The program supports new or existing projects, services, and programs that show potential to reduce crime in Marion County—either directly or indirectly.
"We know kids in our community -- especially in Lawrence Township, but also in Indianapolis -- are dying at the hands of other people that are around the same age of them. We want our track team, we want our organization to be not just a safe place for them to feel like they can contribute as an individual, but also a safe place where they can actually feel like they can give back to the community and be a part of something," Little said.
Little said the money is going towards creating another team called “AthLead Assemble," which is a team for children and teens living with disabilities. The new team is set to start next spring with registration beginning in 2022.
To get involved with AthLead Indy, click here.
To see a full list of organizations through the grant program, click here.