Wyandanch will receive $100,000 in state funding for a program to help reduce the number of shootings in the community.
The money was secured by Assemb. Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D-Babylon) in the 2018-19 state budget and will be used for an initiative started in the community in 2015 called SNUG, which is guns spelled backward. The program is run out of the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services and has been implemented in municipalities across the state since 2009. Hempstead Village received $587,500 this year for its SNUG program, which began in 2015.
The program aims to make communities safer by offering services designed to prevent and interrupt incidents of violence, in part by teaching skills to resolve conflicts nonviolently and promote self-sufficiency. For Wyandanch, the funding will be administered through the Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk Inc. and will be earmarked for six areas of programming targeting youth: a creative arts program, a computer lab, a faith leader/community mobilization program, a job readiness program, community-coordinated baseball games and gift incentives.
The creative arts program will involve teaching participants how to airbrush on apparel, including the marketing and sale of merchandise. The computer lab will teach basic typing skills and how to use Microsoft applications. The faith leader/community mobilization program will examine how community leaders can help educate about violence and create change in a community through public engagement. The job readiness program is a 40-hour skills-building program designed for high-risk participants that touches on topics including substance abuse, mental health and anger management. The baseball program is designed to show youth how to work as a team and build social skills and self-confidence. Incentives for participants include gift cards and care packages.
“Programs like SNUG are essential to combating gun violence and steering young people away from trouble,” Jean-Pierre said in a statement.