Portland, Shawnee students sought for youth leadership program


    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.

    Judy Hughes
    Judy Hughes is a senior communications and marketing coordinator for UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing and associate editor of UofL Magazine. She previously worked in news as a writer and editor for a daily newspaper and The Associated Press.