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Block parties and basketball: Working to heal youth violence in Louisville

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 11:33 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - According to the Louisville nonprofit Game Changers, 107 young people have been shot this year so far, and rarely does the pain stop with that victim.

On Friday, multiple groups across the city held events in the hopes of creating safe spaces for boys and girls to process the pain of living in dangerous times.

Jasemine Reed is a creative writer who paired with DJ Bombshell to create Nurture the West, a block party event where yoga, art, and music let Shawnee kids let loose.

“Positive coping skills is ultimately what young people have to learn from events like Nurture the West,” Reed said. “To see smiling people, right? When someone smiles at you, you have to smile back.”

Friday brought more than just smiles, as children took to the microphone to practice self-affirmation.

Across town at the Newburg Boys and Girls Club, The Breewayy Warriors, a young men’s basketball team, competed in the Jutice4Kids tournament, raising money for a mental wellness summit in November. The team’s coach, Bruce Sweeney, said healing comes from the camaraderie the boys experience.

“They’ve got a lot of love and people here guiding them, doing positive things,” Sweeney said. “Out in the streets, you ain’t doing but negative things. The streets don’t love you, but in here you got nothing but love.”

The Boys and Girls club summit is scheduled for Nov. 13 at the Newburg location.

Nurture the West plans to hold a block party in each of West Louisville’s neighborhoods.

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