Senator Jeremy Cooney Announces New State Funding for 'Community Vanguard' Violence Prevention in Rochester

NYS Senator Cooney with Untrapped Ministries Founder Justin Morris & Vanguards O’Shunn Gibson-Henry and Hezekia Jackson

(ROCHESTER, NY) - Today, NYS Senator Jeremy Cooney (D-Rochester) announced $50,000 in new funding for the Community Vanguards program run by Untrapped Ministries.

Untrapped Ministries founder Justin Morris is deeply connected to the community, offering young people in Rochester the opportunity to learn de-escalation and conflict resolution strategies to stop violence before it starts.  

Additionally, Untrapped Ministries provides mentorship programs to connect young Rochestarians with career exploration, and various resources including those to target health disparities. 

The funding, secured by Senator Cooney through the Department of Criminal Justice Services, will allow Untrapped Ministries to expand their services and enlarge their impact in Rochester. 

Senator Jeremy Cooney: 

There is not a singular solution to ending gun violence, but we have to try something new. That requires credible and authentic community-minded messengers, like Justin Morris and his team. I am proud to deliver funding to allow Untrapped Ministries to expand their street programming through the Community Vanguard initiative and to offer support to even more young people in the City of Rochester. Their work saves lives, and will have long lasting positive impacts in our city. It is my privilege to direct state resources to support their work.”

Justin Morris, Founder, Untrapped Ministries:

“Gun violence doesn’t start at the point of the gun being shot. Gun violence starts at the point of the system failing the shooter.”