LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Louisville is taking a unique approach to preventing violence among young people.

“But it's in a different way than people would generally approach youth violence prevention,” said Monique Ingram, director of U of L’s Youth Violence Prevention Research Center (YVPRC).  

It has to do with knowing who you are, the history of your culture and being proud of it. YVPRC and the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods are partnering to change the perception that violence in normal and accepted particularly among African American youth.

“One aspect is to cultivate positive racial identity. A lot of times for people, particularly this community, you don't see a lot of positivity as it relates to people who look like you,” Ingram said.

So the idea is to promote that pride in young people. In fact young people are a big part of shaping and molding the campaign.

The block party kickoff for the campaign was held in the Portland Neighborhood all day Saturday.

“We need it, there's not a lot for these kids to do out here. I grew up around this neighborhood so I know,” Leon Gerald said.

“This right here is for the little ones to see something besides tape, hearing sirens, hearing gunshots, seeing gunshots, seeing killings, just imagine that as a child,” said community activist George Fields.

The block party in the Russell neighborhood gave kids a chance to sit in the driver’s seat of a firetruck, play around on inflatable jungle gyms and take part in a dance party.

Some young girls, wise beyond their years, also took away a positive message from the block party kickoff.

“To enjoy life with everybody, and help the community and make the world a better place,” Jonice Reed said.

“Because we need to tell people who's watching the news that we're supposed to be helping the community,” Amya Maddox said.

The pride, peace, prevention campaign will continue for the next three years and is being funded by the CDC.

You can like the YVPRC Facebook page by clicking here and follow them on Twitter by clicking here.

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