VCU receives funding for gun violence, early childhood education initiatives

Virginia Commonwealth University received over $1.3 million of Congressional funds to pay for gun violence prevention responses and the school’s early childhood educator residency program.

The two programs, according to a Thursday news release, totaled $996,000 for the schools’ RVA Gun Violence Prevention Framework and $400,000 for the RTR Teacher Residency Early Childhood Pathway.



The gun violence prevention framework is expected to “identify and confront the social, economic and systemic factors that contribute to gun violence.”

“This public health crisis is a systemic issue, exacerbated by a wide range of factors, that requires a comprehensive, evidence-based response,” Congressman A. Donald McEachin said.

The partnership with the city of Richmond hopes to lower gun violence through “systems-level changes” aiding the community and the people that call the region home. The teacher residency program, on the other hand, hopes to create a strong pathway to recruiting and retaining stellar early childhood teachers.

“Our teachers deserve a robust program that prepares them for their careers and supports them along the way,” McEachin said. “VCU’s RTR Early Childhood Pathway program is an incredible opportunity for aspiring educators and a proven method to ensure our youth receive a quality, early childhood education.”

VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D., said that he believed that these funds would be critical to helping the school fulfill its mission of addressing social issues in Virginia’s urban communities.

“These two programs fit that mission, helping reduce gun violence to make our communities safer, and train more high-quality early childhood educators to give children the best possible start in life,” Rao said.

The federal funding was part of a set of local projects in his congressional district over $19 million that passed in March.

Ivy Lyons

Ivy Lyons is a digital journalist for WTOP.com. Since 2018, they have worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC News in Washington, and with WJLA in Washington.

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