PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Mayor Jorge Elorza is making major investment in the Providence’s youth in hopes of preventing gun violence in the capital city.

Elorza announced a series of nonviolence programs Wednesday funds utilizing American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, which was approved by the City Council last summer.

The efforts come as Providence last year recorded its deadliest year since 2009, with 23 homicides and an increase in shootings.

Elorza said the city will address the root causes of violence by providing critical supports, skills and opportunities for its youth.

“When we think about addressing violence, we have to look at the root causes – the systemic inequities, barriers and burdens that many of the youth in our city face, especially as we continue to navigate the pandemic,” Elorza said. “By investing in our city’s young people, we can set them up with the skills and opportunities they need to find success and chart their own course forward as members of our Providence community.”

The Nonviolence Institute was awarded $500,000 in November to conduct two types of trainings: one for the city’s youth and another for adults. The workshops will be held bimonthly until June 2023 and are open to the public.

“Teaching nonviolence is a long-term solution to reducing violence by building safe spaces for healthy and healing conversations,” Nonviolence Institute Executive Director Cedric Huntley said. “Through nonviolence training, we can create understanding, relationships, friendship and forgiveness that can endure the next struggle, not as adversaries, but as allies.”

Mentor Rhode Island has been selected to lead the city’s youth mentorship programming.

President and CEO Jo-Ann Schofield said Mentor Rhode Island will provide local community organizations with specialized assistance to improve mentoring opportunities throughout Providence.

“We’re very excited for this opportunity to support and guide local organizations who provide critical mentorship experiences to our city’s youth,” Schofield said. “We appreciate the city’s work to prioritize mentorship and look forward to increasing access to meaningful relationships and support systems for young people citywide.”

The city will also be offering new job opportunities to the city’s youth, all of which have an earning range of at least $15 an hour.

To apply for a youth job, register for nonviolence training or apply to receive program support from Mentor Rhode Island, click here.