Nashville, Tenn. (October 7, 2020)—Davidson County Juvenile Court has announced that the Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College has been awarded a grant to support their CHILL program, an effort to curb youth violence in Metro Nashville. The grant, in excess of $76,500, is a part of the FY21 Community Partnership Fund provided through federal CARES Act funding and is managed by the Davidson County Juvenile Court.

The CHILL Program (for “Choosing How I Lead Life”) was established by the Center for Health Policy as a collaborative public health approach to address youth violence. The program is designed to influence high school and middle school students in preventing community and gun violence through conflict resolution skills and social competencies.

“Students at Whites Creek High School and McKissack Middle School will use a peer-to-peer learning model to learn conflict resolution,” said Mariah Cole Williams, director of program management for the center. “In addition, students will develop individual plans for creating goals and meeting them and be part of service-learning opportunities and group mentoring.”

The grant, made possible by the Davidson County Juvenile Court, is another demonstration of support for the Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College programming, said Terrica Arnold who is managing the grant. “The expression and accomplishment of health policy in society takes many forms,” Arnold said. “And the financial support of Metro Nashville in the form of this grant means a lot to the community we serve—particularly through the CHILL program.”

Program goals include reduction of violence-related youth activity in 37209 and 37189 zip codes, lowering the rate of re-offenders among youth, improving school attendance, building cognitive skills and knowledge and boosting connections among people, places and experiences that support healthy development.

The program also serves families of CHILL participants who have been affected by COVID-19. The Operation Uplift initiative will help further the goals of the CHILL program by creating strong home environments.

The term of the grant commences retroactively on March 1 and runs through December 30, 2020.