500 Youth Will Benefit From New Right Turn Programs

August 28, 2014

Programs match youth with mentors to turn lives around

Five hundred Louisville youth involved in the juvenile justice system have new resources to get back on the right path for completing school, planning for careers, getting training and finding employment with two new programs, Mayor Greg Fischer announced today.

"This is a focused effort to help youth in our community get back on track after getting in minor scrapes with the justice system," Fischer said. "These programs let young people know that it's never too late to turn your life around and that there are adults in this community who want them to be successful."

The programs, Right Turn and Right Turn 2.0, are funded by $2.25 million from two federal grants recently awarded to KentuckianaWorks, Greater Louisville?s Workforce Investment Board.

"A youthful mistake shouldn't derail a young person's career or erase their ambition," said Congressman John Yarmuth. "I'm proud to support these federal investments to help young, at-risk Louisvillians learn to make better choices, build stronger futures, and set a positive example for our community."

Over the next three years, Right Turn and Right Turn 2.0 will pair volunteer adult mentors with court-involved youth, ages 16 to 19, to help guide them in setting personal and career goals and working to meet those goals.

Volunteer adult mentors will be screened and trained, using the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP) model, to work one-on-one with the youth as a positive role model and help the youth develop and reach positive academic, career and personal goals. Both programs will host events for the mentors and youth to provide social activities as well as those focused on career development.

Fischer said more volunteers are needed for the programs. Individuals and organizations interested should contact the Kentucky Youth Career Center at (502) 574-4115.

Right Turn, which began earlier this year, has enrolled 65 youth. It will serve a total of 200 youth over the next two years.

Right Turn 2.0 will serve 300 youth over the next two years. Each program offers a minimum of nine months of follow-up for each youth involved. Some youth have already been recruited for Right Turn 2.0 program, which will start in September.

Both programs will target young men and women in the juvenile justice system, including those with mental and physical health and substance abuse issues, some who have been recently released as well as youth in the community whose behavior identifies them as at-risk for offending.

The federal funding allows the hiring of case managers, who will work directly with young people and program and mentor supervisors.

Youth are referred to the programs from the Department of Juvenile Justice, Louisville Metro Youth Detention Services, Bluegrass Aquatic Rehab and Training Center, Department of Community-Based Services, the Louisville Public Defender, YMCA Safe Place, Kentucky Youth Career Center, Restorative Justice Louisville, local high schools and other partners.

Right Turn is made possible by an Institution for Educational Leadership grant of nearly $750,000 awarded to KentuckianaWorks in the fall of 2013. Only four other organizations -- in Nashville, Houston, Los Angeles and Lansing -- received similar grants.

KentuckianaWorks received a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration this May to fund the Right Turn 2.0 program.

The Right Turn and Right Turn 2.0 programs operate out of the Kentucky Youth Career Center, 510 W. Broadway, Suite 700, in downtown Louisville. The phone number is (502) 574-4115.