OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) – The City of Opelika has received a $28,000 grant for its Youth Incarceration Prevention Project. The grant was awarded to the city by Governor Kay Ivey from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.
The YIPP pilot program was created in 2018 by Mayor Gary Fuller and is a result of the Opelika Commission on Crime and Violence. The program addresses youth offender behavioral health issues such as substance abuse, provides educational training so youth graduate from high school or earn a GED, and also provides job skills training and an opportunity to get a good paying job in Lee County.
Officials say the implementation of projects like YIPP will make Opelika and Lee County a safer for everyone. “We are proactively working to address concerns about how all citizens are treated in Opelika, including our young people. They are our future,” said Mayor Gary Fuller.
It will give those in need an opportunity to improve their lives. “This program is going to make a positive impact in the lives of youth in our community,” says Fuller. “Adolescence is such a period of development between childhood and adulthood.
YIPP is an initiative that will stem the growing tide of youth, predominantly low income and minority, from either going to or returning to prison. The YIPP program is important because on average, 83 percent of youth offenders age 16-24 will return to prison. “If we can connect with troubled youth and give them other outlets and opportunities, then we may be able to help them turn their lives around for the better,” says Fuller.
YIPP is supported by the Lee County Youth Court, area nonprofits, colleges and churches. For more information, please contact Pastor Skip Long 804-334-7923 or send an email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.