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Louisville expands REImage to help more youth stay in school, stay out of trouble

Expands to Park Hill

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Sept. 27, 2016) — Mayor Greg Fischer and Rashaad Abdur-Rahman, director of the city’s Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, today announced the expansion of REImage, an initiative that helps stop the cycle of crime and violence by intervening with youth who have been charged with a crime or are at high risk of criminal behavior.

Launched in September 2015 by the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, REimage has targeted youth in the Shawnee and Russell neighborhoods and is now expanding to include the Park Hill area.

img_0851Over the next year, the program will work with up to 250 youth, ages 16-24, helping them stay in school, further their education, get a job, navigate the court system and address drug and alcohol issues.

“Connecting with these young people and giving them a second chance is not only the right thing to do, it’s a key part of our strategy for preventing violence and creating safer neighborhoods,” Fischer said. “Connecting them to education and jobs increases their chance for success, while simultaneously reducing the odds that they will be further involved in crime and violence.”

In its first year, REimage has worked with 109 youth, exceeding its enrollment goal. Among program participants, 52 were placed into jobs, 10 entered college or postsecondary training and 45 completed workforce education. Eligible youth from other areas across the community can also participate.

Fischer started REimage to build on the work of two federally funded programs known as Right Turn and Right Turn 2.0, which began in 2014. With federal support for Right Turn having ended earlier this year, and funding for Right Turn 2.0 ending in 2017, Mayor Fischer and the Metro Council put $500,000 in the current city budget to continue a comprehensive intervention effort under the single name of REimage.

Since 2014, nearly 600 youth total have been served through Right Turn and REimage.

“REimage is a great example of how we can sustain investments in our youth, and in a real way, support young folks who are trying to change their lives,”Abdur-Rahman said. “The commitment we are making to this program is very encouraging, and we need the help of businesses and employers who not only recognize the added value to our city, but understand how this is part of how we come together to secure a safer more vibrant community.”

Youth are also referred to the program from the Department of Juvenile Justice, Louisville Metro Youth Detention Services, Department of Community-Based Services, the Louisville Public Defender, YMCA Safe Place, Kentucky Youth Career Center, Restorative Justice Louisville, local high schools and other partners.