Image courtesy of Horton’s Kids

 By Daniel Hamburg

WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Working to prevent youth violence in the District, the attorney general has awarded nearly $900,000 to 11 nonprofits working with kids.

One of those nonprofits, Horton’s Kids, has been providing support for kids and their families for 35 years.

It’s one of several organizations Attorney General Brian Schwalb says is providing proactive interventions to keep kids out of trouble.

At Horton’s Kids, academics is important, with individual tutors after school. Those involved even pay it forward.

“It helps me to help other children with it,” said 15-year-old Aalia Erby.

The arts are also a priority.

“I do podcasting here, and I like to do poetry. I like to write music,” said Erin Parker.

It’s all in an effort to not only keep kids busy but help them grow.

“We provide holistic programing to our families and kids. So that includes health and wellness, youth development, community, family engagement and academics,” said Shandell Richards, chief program officer at Horton’s Kids.

Richards said a $50,000 grant from the Office of Attorney Geneeral will help them continue their mission.

“It really allows us to not only extend some of our programing, but build a youth advisory council. Where we’re going to tap into our youth and teach them how to advocate for themselves,” Richards said.

The goal of the Leaders of Tomorrow Youth Violence Prevention Grant Program is to foster youth development and reduce violence, which is something the teens see often.

“I think it’s not safe, kids couldn’t come outside. Just very violent,” Parker said.

But inside the walls of Horton’s Kids, dozens of kids are encouraged to make positive choices.

“They’re here with open arms. They’ll teach you things you never learn, give you great opportunities,” Parker said.

The grant program was initially launched by the attorney general to provide $250,000 in funding, but now a partnership with the Greater Washington Community Foundation has increased that to $1.5 million.