Mayor, JCPS kick off National Youth Violence Prevention Week activities across city
Mayor Greg Fischer today joined representatives from Jefferson County Public Schools, Louisville Urban League, community organizations and local youth to kick off Louisville’s participation in National Youth Violence Prevention Week, a week-long initiative to raise violence prevention awareness and strategies for youth, parents, teachers, school personnel and community members to prevent youth violence before it happens.
“We owe it to our youth to do all we can as a community to keep them, their families and our neighborhoods safe, because witnessing violent crime, worrying about violent crime or being part of a violent crime should never be normal for any child,” Mayor Fischer said. “This week shows the important role young people can have, and want to have, in making their communities safer.”
From April 8 to April 12, nearly 100 activities, trainings, art projects and anti-violence campaigns will be held by Louisville schools and other youth-serving organizations throughout the community. This year’s theme is “Be A Superhero: Activate your Superpowers.”
The week is a partnership among Mayor Fischer’s Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, Jefferson County Public Schools, Cities United, Brown-Forman, Community Foundation of Louisville, Metro United Way, Peace Education, Centerstone, Muhammad Ali Center, Center for Women and Families, Louisville Metro Police and other groups, and part of a national initiative organized by Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE), an initiative of Newtown, Connecticut-based group Sandy Hook Promise.
“Our students are taking innovative steps to ensure a positive culture and climate in our schools, not just this week but throughout the year,” said Dr. Marty Pollio, superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools. “From developing campaigns to building strategies to peacefully resolve issues, our school communities are coming together to lead by example. Safety is our highest priority and the efforts underway right now highlight our commitment to protecting students.”
According to SAVE, 60 percent of American children are exposed to violence, crime or abuse in their homes, schools or communities.
National Youth Violence Prevention Week is just one of the efforts coordinated by the Office of Safe and Health Neighborhoods, created by Mayor Fischer in 2013 and charged with helping create a city of safe neighborhoods, where everyone is supported, free of violence, and prepared for lifelong success.
The Mayor said he was “proud of the work the city has done to promote public safety and violence in Louisville.”
As part of a comprehensive strategy that ranges from prevention, to enforcement to reentry, the city has reduced homicides by 30 percent.
Through the city’s violence interruption programs, 212 gunshot victims have been assisted since its creation. In January of 2019 alone, more than 200 hours were spent engaging patients in the University of Louisville Emergency Room, plus hundreds of hours in the Russell, Portland and Shawnee neighborhoods engaging individuals and families at risk of being impacted by gun violence.
The city’s Pivot to Peace program has reduced injury recidivism among 95 percent of its participants. The Community Response team has connected more than 300 individuals and families to trauma-related services within 48 hours of an incident taking place.
The Mayor highlighted the success of the Reimage program, a collaboration between the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods and KentuckianaWorks. More than 500 young people have enrolled in the program that helps to break the cycle of crime and violence by connecting young people to training, jobs and education.
Reimage is actively recruiting young people right now for training that can quickly set them on a career path in key fields such as IT, manufacturing, construction and youth development. Those wanting to participate in the Reimage program can find more information here.
“This will be the second consecutive year that Louisville has participated in this national effort. It’s an opportunity to lift up the powerful work happening locally led by our brilliant youth, and to intentionally engage them as architects to solutions for violence” said Rashaad Abdur-Rahman, Director of Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods.
Throughout the week, JCPS students will be:
Engaging in random acts of kindness;
Learning lessons centered around conflict resolution;
Holding compliment days where students will say nice things and give praise to peers;
Learning about three steps to violence prevention – look for warning signs, act immediately to prevent a violent incident, say something to a trusted adult;
Holding awareness walks to encourage students to resolve issues without violence.
Participants are encouraged to use the social media hashtags #LouYVPW and #NYVPW.
Click here to learn more about National Youth Violence Prevention Week events.