Louisville youth choir promoting positive change with peace walk - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville youth choir promoting positive change with peace walk Saturday

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- On the surface, TNG is a youth choir. But if ask the kids of St. Stephen Church, they'll tell you The Next Generation is much more. 

Take, for instance, Central High School senior Jonathan Dooley Jr.

"It's a positive movement, and a lot of kids just want to be a part of it."

When director Amy Flanagan took over in the summer of 2015, she only had about 15 kids on the roster. Today that number is 115 ... bonded not just by faith, but by Louisville's troubling rise in kids connected to violent crime. 

"I've known many people who have died this year," Dooley Jr. said. "It's hard but you've got to push through."

Flanagan said she sees it every week during choir rehearsal. 

"These kids are hurting, because one of their friends got shot or they had guns in backpacks at their school or friends who have gone to jail."

TNG includes kids ages 11 to 17.

"These kids have been to more funerals than I've been to in my entire life of their friends and that's sad," Flanagan said

That's why TNG is hosting a positive, peace, health and wellness walk Saturday. Touting the message that TNG lives by: Success is the only option. "

"You can do something positive and be a black teenager," Dooley Jr. said.

The walk begins at 1 p.m. at St. Stephen Church off 15th Street, head straight up Kentucky Street past Simmons College, then left at Seventh Street and into downtown, eventually ending at the Big 4 Bridge.

The ending strikes directly at infamous incidents from the city's recent history, like a mob at Waterfront Park in 2014 and the evacuation at Mall St. Mathews last Christmas

Flanagan says she sees good kids every week and she wants the rest of the community see them as well. More than 150 children are expected to participate. 

Saturday's walk is also a fundraising effort. In addition to weekly rehearsals, TNG does monthly activities. In the last year, the kids have cut down the net after an Indiana Pacers game, ridden roller coasters at Kings Island, swam at the Great Wolf Lodge and stayed overnight playing games in Gattiland. 

The next big adventure takes TNG to historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta where Dr. Martin Luther King once pastored. The church is a cherished piece of the civil right movement. The Next Generation has been invited to sing.  

TNG is way more than a choir. It's an effort to change the city of Louisville, one kid at a time. 

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