CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Medical University of South Carolina has been awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of grant money to be used for a violence prevention program in the Lowcountry.
The money will help implement a program called Lowcountry Rising Above Violence through a partnership with Youth Advocate Programs Inc. (YAP), according to MUSC.
The hospital is getting almost $1 million from the grant. The program funded with the money will focus on young people ages 14 to 25 in Charleston and North Charleston who are considered high risk.
MUSC will be able to hire credible messengers—local people who are familiar with high-risk neighborhoods and who will continuously get training in first aid, crisis intervention healthy relationships and conflict resolution, a release from the hospital said. These credible messengers will serve as liaisons to open up communication, mediate conflict and connect people to resources that help with mental health, job training, education, housing and more.
“It’s a community-based program that’s operating within the community between the East and West side,” Dr. Ronald Dickerson, the Program Director of Turning the Tides Violence Intervention Program, says. “They will also be more in line with preventing some of the violence.”
And when it comes to why MUSC—a healthcare system—is concerned about violence, officials involved with the program say they are seeing more and more victims of violence come through the doors of the hospital.
MUSC’s Level 1 Trauma Centers in Charleston saw a 30 percent increase in firearm assaults and injuries in 2020, according to the hospital.
Homicides in the City of Charleston doubled from 2019 to 2020, Christa Green, the Injury Prevention Coordinator for Pediatric Trauma at MUSC, says.
They have to tackle this problem, Green says.
“People lose their lives at an alarming rate in our city,” she says. “It’s 100 percent preventable. It’s hard to know that and not do anything about it. We can’t do it on our own just within the walls of our hospital. We really have to reach across the aisle, the street, whatever you want to call it and work with the community.”
The $1 million comes in the form of a 3-year grant. It comes from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention within the U.S. Department of Justice. In Charleston
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