Academy for at-risk Louisville youth moves closer to target - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Academy for at-risk Louisville youth moves closer to target

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- From murder to robbery - surprisingly, some of the city's youth have seen it all.

That's why a program that helps at-risk youth is being consider lifesaving.

Canaan Community Development Corporation is now located inside the Lyles Mall, which is a lot closer to the nonprofit's target.

By day and by night, the recent violence has been unstoppable.

Even Easter Sunday was no exception. "I am very scared on a daily basis," said Whitney Hickman, who is a single parent.

Hickman's fear comes from being the mother of two young sons in the Russell Neighborhood. She said, "Any given day, we can hear shots on the side street or something and police racing up the street."

Erma Hickman is her mother and said, "I help as much as I can." Hickman's mother helps, but she has learned raising young boys really does take a village.

Whitney explained, "I don't want my sons to become a statistic." And chances are good, that won't happen. That's because the village is a lot closer to home these days.

"We were not reaching our target demographic, and so we made a pact last year that we would move back to the heart of where our people are," said Terra Leavell, executive director of CCDC. "We do our best to make sure that they're not thinking about doing wrong."

CCDC is also home to the Sons of Issachar Academy.

Leavell said, "On a daily basis, we hear from our boys about the tragic situations that's going on in the city because it effects them."

The program tutors and mentors at-risk males from kindergarten through 8th grade.

"It's the brothers, the cousins, sometimes the fathers of these young boys that we have everyday that are those victims or committing the crimes."

The academy partners with JCPS and helps youth with everything from homework to social skills, which is why the move to the Lyles Mall was crucial.

"If the option just was Hikes Lane, they wouldn't make it the weeks that I am not here, or the days that I am not here because of limited transportation," Whitney Hickman said.

The Sons of Issachar is a free, nine-month program.

CCDC also has a summer camp for at-risk youth.

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