INDIANAPOLIS — On Monday, the Central Indiana Community Foundation and the City of Indianapolis announced the newest recipients of the Violent Crime Reduction Grant Program.
Thirty organizations are set to receive a total of $2,897,000. The release said the money will help these organizations "develop and implement integrated, evidence-based practices to prevent and reduce crime in Indianapolis." LaShauna Triplett's organization, Mackida Loveal & Trip Mentoring Outreach Center, is one of the recipients. They're receiving $175,000.
"The grant has been fundamental in helping MLT reach more families, more youth," Triplett said. She says the needs during the pandemic have evolved, so the grant will help them take care of things to help them continue serving the people who need help.
"Evictions or food insecurity, things we call risk factors, this grant is also going to help us decrease the risk factors which will increase their protective factors," Triplett explained. "An evidence based study shows it can reduce criminalized behavior."
Triplett started MLT in 1997. Since then her organization that she runs with her husband has helped numerous people. Angel Blake and Rayvon Smith are two people who've benefited from the program
"They didn't give up on me and they helped me get through it," Smith said. He was behind in school and didn't have hope of graduating on time until he got help from MLT Outreach.
"The program is the best thing that ever happened to me. Without it, I would have probably never graduated high school," Smith said.
Angel Blake is currently in college with a 4.0, studying community health. She too credits MLT Outreach with helping her become the successful person she is today.
"They care. They will help you," Blake said. "Their program cares for younger people, anybody really to get them where they need to be in life. I'm still in college til this day because of it."
Triplett knows some people may question if the work their doing is making a difference. She points to people like Blake, Smith and many others who've gone on to lead good lives.
Triplett believes without the support they've provided over the years, the crime rate in the city would be higher than it is right now. She says all the work they do is through a trauma-informed lens which allows them to meet families where their are, helping them make the best decisions.
"With MLT being a trauma sensitive programming, we are helping our families, not just the youth, even the parents recognize their triggers. If I can identify my triggers, I can reduce my response to it in a negative way," Triplett said.