(Washington, DC) Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser highlighted investments for building safer and stronger communities in her Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) Budget by announcing a proposed new $1.7 million Life Coach initiative and $13.5 million investment to drastically expand recreation services for young people. Mayor Bowser was joined by the Office of Gun Violence Prevention (OGVP) Director Linda Harllee Harper and the Department of Parks and Recreation and Acting Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement Director Delano Hunter to discuss how these investments will help more residents, of every age, get connected to opportunities that keep them safe and engaged.
“These investments will help us build a safer, stronger DC by creating more opportunities for residents of every age to participate in activities that keep them safe and engaged,” said Mayor Bowser. “We know that there is a relatively small group of people in our community who are at the highest risk of being involved in gun violence. The Life Coaches will play a significant role in reaching those residents and providing the intensive services they need to escape cycles of violence. And by drastically expanding recreation opportunities we are going to get more kids and teens into programs and sports that keep them safe and involved in activities they enjoy and that equip them with critical life skills.”
An analysis of shootings in DC conducted by the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform in partnership with the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, revealed that there are a small number of individuals who are most vulnerable to being involved in gun violence. The analysis identified approximately 250 individuals who are considered at very high risk. With a $1.7 million investment, the Life Coach initiative aims to reach those individuals by providing 20 family support workers and three supervisors to offer case coordination services and needs assessments. The life coaches will also work with an outreach team to execute individual success plans for residents identified as very high risk.
“Mayor Bowser’s budget reflects a commitment to a balanced approach to public safety by providing access to prevention resources,” said OGVP Director Harllee Harper. “Adding Life Coaches will create teams in our communities to find and engage our residents in need of additional support. Collectively, life coaches, violence interrupters and care coordinators will work together to connect individuals to the resources to put them on the right path to succeed.”
The Mayor also highlighted her budget’s $13.5 million investment for “Recreation for A.L.L.” – a new DPR initiative to expand recreational offerings and ensure all District residents, particularly young people, have access to high-quality recreational programming that keeps them safe and engaged.
“DPR is honored to be the recipient of such tremendous backing from the Bowser Administration and is committed to delivering a return on this investment for residents in all eight wards,” said DPR and Acting Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement Director Delano Hunter. “We’re excited to use this injection of funding to increase access to our most sought-after programs, level the playing field by eliminating barriers to high-cost sports and activities, and leverage the latest cutting-edge recreation within our facilities.”
New program enhancements provided under Recreation for A.L.L. would include:
- 10,000 more summer Camp slots and 1,000 more participants at Camp Riverview;
- 1,400 more Learn-to-Swim slots & restored Sunday pool service in select centers
- 330+ more slots in Tiny Tots Tennis;
- 250 more residents participating in gymnastics programs;
- 1,200 opportunities for girls to enroll in new volleyball, softball, & soccer teams and leagues;
- 300 more participants in Senior Olympics;
- Water Sports Programming @ Diamond Teague Park—offering boating, kayaking, and canoeing.
The Mayor’s proposed budget also invests in extending meaningful and fun learning opportunities to District youth when they are outside of school, including:
- $5M to extend out-of-school time grant opportunities and preserve continuity to youth
- $3.9M to expand out-of-school-time recreation programs provided by DPR and community-based organizations, focusing on athletics, visual arts, performing arts, e-sports, culinary arts, and more
- $6.4M to continue the expansion of the Marion Barry Summer Youth Employment Program
Residents can learn more about the Fiscal Year 2023 Fair Shot Budget at budget.dc.gov.