LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Organizers are seeking Shawnee and Portland area youths this month to help in a yearlong program to overcome racial barriers, learn about neglected history, develop leadership and team-building skills and ultimately to advocate for social change.
The Reclaiming Our Dreams Youth Leadership Institute is for students in grades 8, 9 and 10.
The project is part of a joint effort by the University of Louisville College of Arts and Sciences, Jefferson County Race, Community and Child Welfare Initiative and Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness-Center for Health Equity. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation recently funded a broader initiative for those entities to increase community awareness of racism and use history as an empowerment tool.
The youth group will train through a Sept. 30-Oct. 2 “Undoing Racism” workshop at Portland Community Center, and then the students will continue to meet several Saturdays throughout the school year. They will attend a weekend retreat in January and a two-week camp in June.
The program is free to youth participants, who also will receive a stipend. Food will be provided during training and program sessions.
The youth institute is intended to educate students about local civil and human rights history, enhance crossgenerational leadership and develop a group of emerging youth leaders who can develop and support social change policies. The students also will work on a community mapping and digital storytelling project about the history of the Shawnee and Portland neighborhoods.