University of Louisville Magazine

FALL 2017

The University of Louisville Alumni Magazine: for alumni, faculty, staff, students and anyone that is a UofL Cardinal fan.

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39 FALL 2017 for furthering the potential impact and application of the Pride, Peace, Prevention campaign. For example, Leavell began a Black Student Union at his high school, with the goal of educat- ing his peers about African Amer- ican history, racial issues and social justice. Meetings included discussions with African Amer- ican community leaders such as Attica Scott, a Kentucky Con- gresswoman and former Louis- ville Metro Council Representa- tive, and Kevin Cosby, president of Simmons College and senior pas- tor of St. Stephen Church. Leavell, who completed his YVPRC fellowship this summer, is now a broadcast major at Tennes- see State University. He hopes to launch a campus television show there that tackles racial and social justice issues. Before his expe- rience with YVPRC he did not understand how historic practices and certain legislation could contribute to poverty and violence, he said. Now, he feels it is his responsibility to inform others. "Working at the YVPRC was one of the best experiences of my life," Leavell said. "Knowing your history is a start to changing the future." Implementing the message The YVPRC plans to hire a second cohort of youth fellows to work with research- ers such as Aishia Brown, a postdoctoral associate at SPHIS with expertise in social justice youth development. Brown has assisted YVPRC leadership in devel- oping curriculum and future training opportunities that focus on youth lead- ership and youth community organizing. In two years, a third cohort will assess the effectiveness of the campaign, com- paring the results to the community of East Nashville, Tennessee, which serves as the control site for the project under the leadership of Maury Nation, asso- ciate professor at Vanderbilt Univer- sity Peabody College of Education and Human Development. Ideally, the cam- paign will have contributed to lowering incidents of youth violence in Louisville. Working with the YVPRC provides a sense of hope that change is possible, Neely and Thomas said. "If you can just touch one person, it sets off a domino effect in the community," said Thomas. Still, they temper their optimism with reality. "Survival sets precedence, so it's hard to receive that message [of potential change] when you're focused on other things, like having food to eat," Thomas said. Neely acknowledges that the YVPRC faces an uphill battle in adjusting perceptions. "These ills and problems can't be fixed with programs alone," he said. "For me, it's trying to navigate these systems. I'm going to try to do what everyone says I can't do." Neely, who now works for the Office of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods and plans to resume classes at Uof L, will continue as a YVPRC youth fellow for another year so he can keep shifting West Louisville's story and sharing with other young people what he has learned. "I am trying to reach out and pull oth- ers through the door," he said. "I want to open their eyes to understanding their identity and being proud of who they are." Restoring community connections The University of Louisville is work- ing with incarcerated youth to prepare them to successfully return to the com- munity and to reduce their risk for re-entering the detention system. A counseling program offered through the College of Education and Human Development focuses on reducing recidivism and is part of the city's over- all strategy for reducing violence. The new program, run by Eugene H. Foster, clinical associate professor in the CEHD's Department of Coun- seling and Human Development, is in partnership with Louisville Metro Gov- ernment's Youth Detention Services. It is an offshoot of the Cardinal Success Program that operates two free mental health training clinics in West Louisville. UofL graduate students work with groups of youths to develop behaviors that will help them successfully return to the community and reduce the risk of reoffending. In a five-month period in 2017, 200 young people had been served in 40 small group sessions. UofL graduate students in counselor education and counseling psychology facilitate the groups. Sessions focus on healthy, safe relationships; mindfulness; coping skills; and substance abuse decision-making. "Evidence informs us that those who build and maintain positive inter- personal, family and community connections upon returning to the community are at reduced risk for reof- fending and recidivism," Foster told attendees when he discussed the pro- gram at Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer's strategic planning summit in August. The program is also a crucial part of UofL's training mission. "We are preparing the next gen- eration of mental health providers to comfortably work in traditionally underserved urban communities," Foster said. — Janet Cappiello One of the historical re-creation ads from the Pride Peace Prevention campaign.

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