ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — New York State Senator Jeremy Cooney (D-Rochester) announced $50,000 in funding for Rochester’s Community Vanguards program Thursday in an effort to stop gun violence.

Officials from Untrapped Ministries, founded by Justin Morris, said they provide young people in the Rochester community the opportunity to learn de-escalation and conflict resolution strategies to stop violence before it starts.

Officials also say that Untrapped Ministries provides mentorship programs to connect young people with career exploration, as well as various resources to target health disparities.

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

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

Senator Cooney said that there is not a singular solution to end gun violence, but they have to try something new.

“I am proud to deliver funding to allow Untrapped Ministries to expand their street programming through the Community Vanguard initiative,” Senator Cooney said. “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.”