RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia Congressman Donald McEachin (D - VA04) met with leaders at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Thursday to present them with a large check representing nearly one-million dollars in federal funding for a gun violence prevention program and $400,000 for a program aimed to recruit, teach, and train early childhood educators.
The money was earmarked for the programs in the Omnibus Appropriations Agreement for Fiscal Year 2022 passed last month.
The money for gun violence prevention program, called the RVA Gun Violence Prevention Framework, totaled $996,000 and the university said it will be used to "establish an evidence-based public health response to address the underlying social, economic and systemic factors that promote gun violence."
Among those who received the chek, was the Chief of the VCU Trauma Center, Dr. Michel Aboutanos, who said that not only have gunshot victim visits to their facility increased by 121% in the past two years, but the severity of injuries have as well.
"Now we're seeing multiple people coming in who are shot multiple times. We just recently just had one kid who was shot 16 times. So, it is a different form of violence," said Dr. Aboutanos, who added that such levels of violence takes a toll on all involved -- victims, their families, and the staff treating them. "The worst impact that, I think at least, for me, is talking to that mother and telling her that her son didn't make it or telling her son is not going walk again -- that's just devastating. And it's not just one time event, doing it now on a daily basis, it wears you out."
McEachin also presented VCU with a $400,000 check for the university's RTR Teacher Residency Early Childhood Pathway, which officials said supports the "recruitment, training, and retainment of high quality, early childhood educators throughout Central Virginia."