The Smart Step Youth Association in Merritt has received more than $1,000 for its summer youth initiatives.

“It’s one of those initiative grants that gets the youth mobilized and allows them to have some program dollars to do some sort of event,” Smart Step director Kelly Donaldson said.

Donaldson said this grant will likely be used to support Smart Step’s graffiti clean up or its “Get Off Your Feet and Clean Our Streets” initiative.

The funding may also be used for a new youth program that involves painting pictures on Dumpsters in an effort to deter vandalism to them.

The funding comes via GenNext Kamloops, a volunteer organization supported by the United Way.

This group raised more than $6,000 last year to disperse as grants to five youth-led projects in Merritt, Kamloops, Williams Lake and Clearwater.

These projects include a Boys and Girls Club event in Williams Lake to provide information about supportive services in that community, a youth engagement project in Clearwater involving after-school activities for young people, a colouring contest for kids hosted by students working with Volunteer Kamloops, and an initiative to fill backpacks with necessities that will be distributed to homeless people by students at Aberdeen Elementary School in Kamloops.

Youth investment grants up to $1,500 are awarded to youth up to age 25 to help with their community projects.

GenNext hopes to raise $10,000 to distribute through the grant program this year.