The Venice Community Housing Corporation has been awarded a California Wellness Foundation $150,000 grant over three years for gang prevention and intervention programs.

The grants will target at-risk youths 12 to 24 years old who live primarily in Venice and Mar Vista, said Steve Clare, Venice Community Housing Corporation executive director.

Specifically, the grant will be used for job training, life skills training, counseling and support services to at least 35 youths annually, Clare said.

Those services are provided through a variety of Venice Community Housing Corporation programs, including:

n L.A. Bridges, an after-school program at Mark Twain Middle School for youths who are at high risk for gang involvement;

n YouthBuild, a training program for at-risk youths that helps them get a high school diploma or a GED (general education diploma) and connects the youths to jobs so they can progress into long-term employment or continue educational pursuits;

n Community Safety Initiative, which provides a liaison between law enforcement and at-risk youths and young adults who are not eligible for YouthBuild. The program provides case management, legal advocacy, job training and other supportive services; and

n Teen Court, a peer-based program designed to provide an alternative for young people accused of first-time minor offenses. Truancy prevention efforts in this program are assisted by the Los Angeles County Probation Department and Venice High School.

Information, Kristen Laskaris, (310) 399-4100, ext. 106 or www.vchcorp.org

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