Flint ReCAST to award mini-grants to community agencies that support youth engagement

FLINT, Michigan — The City of Flint recently announced the 2022 Flint ReCast (Resiliency in Communities After Stress and Trauma) Mini-Grant Program and is now accepting proposals. The program aims to financially assist community agencies that help youth engagement and mental health awareness in Flint and offers rewards from $5,000 to $25,000 to 12 programs or agencies. The application time for the mini-grants will be open until February 14, 2022.  

Seamus Bannon, Program Liaison with the Mayor’s Office said, “we want the applications to meet two goals. The first goal is that whatever your proposal is, it will increase capacity and implementation of evidence with community-based youth engagement programs. Those who will provide community-based programming for Flint youth and families in the areas of health, career development or mental health.”

“The other goal, the main goal, is that it would increase the capacity of trauma-informed practices and strengthen integrational behavioral health services," Bannon continued. "Basically, outcomes that lead to positive social, emotional and behavioral health improvements.”

Programs and agencies wanting to apply should be legally incorporated in the state of Michigan with a 501(c)(3) status, an academic institution with a charitable purpose, a project sponsored by a government agency, or a community-based organization with a fiscal sponsor.

Kristin Stevenson, a project manager at the Greater Flint Health Coalition, said, “Ultimately, our endeavor with ReCAST is promoting equity and resilience. The mini-grant program specifically is doing that in the realm of youth engagement and youth development. We want to focus on the youth and specifically high-risk youth in Flint and their families who were impacted by the Flint Water Crisis.”

This year, the ReCAST program will be judged in a different way than years past, with the people of Flint being the judge.  

With the hope of transparency and community engagement, the Flint ReCAST program wants the people of Flint to decide and vote for what community programs they want to see come to life. Starting on February 25, voting will be opened on the Flint ReCAST website and will be open until March 11, 2022.

“In the past, it was you send in your proposal and we score and give it a rating, but this way, [the programs] will want to sell it to the community itself," Bannon explained. "So on the application, there's one question about uploading a sound bite or image that reflects on your program to be more engaging and more promoting, to stand out from the rest.”

The ReCAST grant was awarded by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration). The grant The City of Flint won is for five years, with $1,000,000 awarded each year.  

Lottie Ferguson, Chief Resilience Officer with the Mayor’s Office, and Nicole Smith Anderson, Special Projects Director at the Greater Flint Health Coalition, worked together to complete the extensive application process. Since ReCAST was a nationwide grant program, the process is very competitive. Only nine applicants were awarded the grant in 2021. 

The Flint ReCAST program has a lot of hopes for the future with this five-year grant. 

“Long term, my hope for ReCAST is that we have a community that is healing because there's been a lot of stress and trauma in this community," said Stevenson. "Ultimately, we want to be able to say that people have acquired skills to deal with those things.”

To keep up with Flint ReCAST and get updates for voting, visit the Facebook page.

If you are interested in applying for a mini-grant, be sure to check out the website. Applications should be submitted via email to [email protected] by February 14, 2022, at 1 pm.

Read more articles by Megan Speaks.