Orangutan at zoo

LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- As Louisville's violent crime crisis deepens, some organizations are taking unorthodox approaches to reach youth affected by gun violence. 

A new partnership announced Tuesday called Future Healers Got Zoo Buddies aims to connect at-risk youth with resources at the Louisville Zoo. The programs will try to reach youth aged 4 to 8 by using staff at the zoo to teach about care for animals with the ultimate goal creating a sensitivity toward animals. 

"I think that's a really important part of just being a human, to know you're within the context of a bigger world with wildlife and wild places," said Dan Maloney, director of the Louisville Zoo. "You can be healed and you can be humbled by nature."

The Future Healers program, organized by community activist Christopher 2X, was launched last June with such success that expansion was a no-brainer, he said. Originally a partnership between youth and medical professionals at UofL Health, Future Healers will incorporate veterinary care of animals with kids that are chosen for the program. 

"Kids subjected to reckless gunplay in Metro Louisville, especially those in the epicenter of shootings, could be easily drawn into the zoo and animals," 2X said. 

The program will begin in February with 17 youth, but it could expand later on.

If you'd like information on how to get your kids involved with Future Healers, contact the Christopher 2X Game Changers organization.

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