St. Pete police distributes $40,000 to local youth organizations

The St. Petersburg Police Department distributed $40,000 in federal grant money to five local organization working to help the youth. The paper checks represent so much more than the value printed on them.

"For them to invest in us is investing in our community," said Maress Scott, who started "Quis for Life" along with Marjorie Scott.

They received $5,000 to continue their efforts toward ending gun violence.

"We lost our son. Anything we do, we do to honor God and memorialize our son," said Maress Scott.

In 2018, their son Marquis Scott was shot and killed while riding his bike, and their grief has turned into action. They've taken thousands of pledges from children and youth, while helping guide them away from violence.

"It's important for us to make sure that they know that they can do something about this gun violence problem that they can control the narrative for the future of their safety and their children as well," said Maress Scott.

The money came from a federal grant from the Department of Justice's office of Community Policing. St. Petersburg police wanted to support those doing hard work in the community, working with children and teens.

"We can do enforcement, but we can also use the community to help the youth to guide them in the right way," said St. Pete Police Chief Anthony Holloway.

The five organizations recognized included Saint Joseph Catholic Church for the Casler Heights Youth Center, Quis for Life, Inc., Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church and the Mentoring Education Nutrition and Arts Project, SPEAK Easy Media with Mindful Movement and Men in the Making-Women in the Making's Technology Lab.

"They are really reaching out to these children, who are going through issues and someone is putting them on the right track," said Chief Holloway.

The money will continue those efforts in helping children find the right path in life.

"It's very important that we plant the seed of personal accountability in the hearts of those kids for the safety of our communities because they are our future," said Scott.

In April, as part of the same grant, SPPD awarded $2,000 stipends to 20 graduating students from the St.Petersburg area high schools to continue their education.