BENTON HARBOR — Children in Blossom Acres Apartments in Benton Township will continue being able to participate in Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor activities, thanks to a $37,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Liji Hanny, director of operations, said the club ran a pilot program for Project Learn during the past spring and summer to bring activities to youth ages 6 to 14 in that area and at times, to bring the youth to the club. He said the club applied for the grant using information gathered from the pilot.

“The grant will enable us to assign a specific staff member or members to Blossom Acres so relationships can be built with the youth,” he said.

Blossom Acres was identified as a gun violence hot spot last year by the Gun Violence Reduction Committee of Southwest Michigan ALPACT (Advocates and Leaders for Police and Community Trust).

Hanny said that as a member of ALPACT, his organization is doing what it can to help reduce violence in that area. He said other ALPACT members are helping out in other areas.

After-school activities funded by the grant will include tutoring, computer technology programs and mentoring, along with club activities, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Eight organizations throughout the state received a total of $340,000 in grants through the Western District of Michigan’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program.

“My hope is that with this PSN sub-grant funding our Boys and Girls Club involvement with the youth in the neighborhood, residents will achieve a greater sense of community,” said Berrien County Prosecutor Michael Sepic in the news release. “It is that sense of community that, over time, will reduce the significant gun violence that plagues this neighborhood.”

Contact: lwrege@TheHP.com, 932-0361, Twitter: @HPWrege