Six organizations that work with Somali youth in Minnesota have been awarded $300,000 in grants as part of a federal pilot project designed to combat terrorism, the nonprofit group that is administering the funds announced Thursday.
The grant recipients include a youth sports group, a program that empowers Somali parents, an organization that plans to enhance youth employment opportunities and a group that addresses mental health issues for refugees. An additional $100,000 has been set aside to help with technical assistance, professional development and other resources with the goal of keeping the programs going on their own in the future.
Marcus Pope, director of partnerships and external relations for Youthprise, the nonprofit administering the money, said investing in youth development is crucial. He said Minnesota is home to many creative and bright Somali youth, but many of them face “formidable challenges, including a sense of alienation, a search for identity as new immigrants, unemployment and poverty that can open them to recruitment by extremist groups.”