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Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana aims to keep more kids safe amid rising violence rates

Updated: Jan 31

Emotional management training takes place at Newburg Club to "HOPE," or Help One Person Everyday.


LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana is working to bring in more members during its national awareness week this week. On Tuesday, the Newburg location celebrated the club's national week with activities like making sandwiches for the homeless, as well as learning about emotional management.


CMAD, which stands for Children Making a Difference, is an initiative started by children. Through the program, children made sandwiches, collected toys to give to cancer patients.


The emotional management training falls under the Newburg Hope program, which stands for Help One Person Everyday. Teen ambassadors talk with youth about the importance of small and large acts of kindness. Along with that, an Newburg intern also taught emotional management techniques, like deep breathing, identifying emotions, and working through hard situations with stress balls.


"We talked about sadness and anger," Cameron Sarin said. "So we talked a little bit about how to deal with those emotions in some very healthy ways."


These conversations resonated with Newburg member, Uriah Boyd.

"You don't have to damage any property, you can just pull out your stress ball and start squeezing it," he said, explaining the techniques he learned Tuesday.


It's activities like these the Boys and Girls Club Newburg director hopes keeps kids safe. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana served around 3200 kids pre-pandemic. In the past year, the locations served around 1,000.


"One of the major ways we keep them safe is just by keeping them in this kind of environment where they're being supervised by staff, they're never left alone," Marvia Presley said.


One Love Louisville's 2015 report 996 children were exposed to violence from March 2014 to Feb. 2015. There were 53 homicide-related deaths during this time. In 2021, the number of homicides has reach an unprecedented 99 homicides as of Monday, June 21, according to LMPD documents.


Presley said the violence has the children feeling a sense of unrest.

"We've had members who have lost their dads, their moms," Presley said. "I mean, this violence has effected them. And we've had some where they're just so depressed. They're sad. And it's been difficult... when they walk through those blue doors the work matters."


The blue doors are a distinct symbol of the Boys and Girls Clubs. Presley said the door is meant to represent the bright future kids can have when they walk through the door.


"They're walking into a place that's welcoming, supportive, a place to belong, a place that is safe," she said.


The Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana handed out around 200 blue signs to celebrate its national week. It's also to get more kids to safety and inside the various club facilitates.


From WLKY, (June 23, 2021). Read original article here.



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