ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The City of Rockford is working closely with grassroots organizations to create a better community.

State grant money has been awarded to a few non-profits aimed at reducing violence. It will help Comprehensive Community Solutions (CCS) offer mental health support for those who may be dealing with some sort of trauma from being exposed to violence in the community.

“I really appreciate this program, because before I was coming here, I would really miss school a lot of time,” said member Gisselle Pastiana. “I really wasn’t getting my work done and I was really falling behind.”

Pastiana has been a part of Comprehensive Community Solutions for a few months now, a place she said has welcomed her with open arms.

“When I found out about this program, it really changed my perspective on life, and I really feel like there should be more programs like this in Rockford because it is a once in a lifetime opportunity that everyone doesn’t get,” Pastiana said.

After receiving more than $500,000 in grant money from the state, the non-profit will be able to help more people like Pastiana reach their highest potential with educational and therapeutic resources.

“Without the money to be able to fund the mission, we couldn’t do the work that we do every day,” said Joshua Patterson, director of community programs at CCS. “So, this grant is definitely going to play a huge part in making sure that young people have access to mental health services, and also making sure that we can just provide a world class experience for the young people.”

The organization received two different community violence grants from the Illinois Department of Human Services:

The “Greater Illinois Trauma Informed Behavioral Services Grant” will provide more than $315,000 for therapy and mental health services.

The “Illinois Reimagine Youth Intervention Services Grant” will give more than $210,000 towards helping those going through the judicial system with education and nutritional opportunities.

“It’s one thing to provide a person with services; help them get their high school diploma, help them get skills within the trade,” said William Chatman, executive director of CCS. “But, when they are walking around with the trauma that, you know, a lot of our young people are going through within our community, and that trauma is not being addressed, one of the things you’ll have is a young person that doesn’t know how to properly assess their emotions.”

Get Connected, another Rockford non-profit, received more than $450,000 for the same reduce violence community grants.