Network to provide mentorships, support for young people launches in Louisville

Published: May. 14, 2021 at 9:45 PM EDT
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DeShawn Ellis
DeShawn Ellis(Source: WAVE 3 News)
Louisville Youth Network is a one-stop shop of youth resources funded through $1 million budget...
Louisville Youth Network is a one-stop shop of youth resources funded through $1 million budget allocation.(Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A new youth network is all about connection. It’s a one-stop shop of youth resources funded through $1 million budget allocation.

DeShawn Ellis is a 21-year-old who has been there and done that. Ellis has struggled, overcame and is now the success he never thought he could be.

For Ellis, the Louisville Urban League was his saving grace. Around 18-years-old, Ellis was depressed and said he would still be in that state without the support of the organization.

“The stuff I’m doing now I didn’t know was my potential,” Ellis said. “For me [to be] writing books teaching people how to invest, having 50k followers[for my business]. I would have never done that because I didn’t have the connections or the people to persuade me to be that type of person.”

The network hopes to have a similar impact and persuade anyone between the ages of 16 to 24.

The Network offers resources on a myriad of topics, including:

  • Education and workforce development
  • Childcare and food assistance
  • Transportation and housing
  • Crisis management and peer support
  • Budgeting and financial management
  • Physical, mental and behavioral health
  • Substance abuse treatment

These are some of the barriers the city feels prevent young people from living equitable, healthy, and happy lives. It’s also part of its public safety efforts.

“The life you want to live you can go live it,” Ellis said. “A lot of people don’t understand that method.”

Ellis learned the method. He now has his own real estate and stock program teaches stocks and investing and has his own construction program.

He said it takes one person to show someone their value and assets and feels every teen and young adult in Louisville deserves to see their own.

The Network is led by the Louisville Metro Office of Youth Development, part of the city’s Office of Resilience and Community Services. Core partners include the Coalition Supporting Young Adults (CSYA), Louisville Urban League, and Goodwill Industries of Kentucky.

To access the Network, young people can click this link to complete a client profile and select services they are interested in receiving support. An Empowerment Navigator will respond to connect youth with appropriate resources, and to help create and achieve goals. Youth can also reach out by calling 502-230-2028 to start the process.

For more information, click here or email Mahogany Mayfield, Youth Services Coordinator for OYD.

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