LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Coming together to target youth violence prevention was an easy yes for 50 organizations and businesses. 

What You Need To Know

  • YES! stands for Youth Engagement Services

  • It is a division of Louisville’s Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods

  • 50 youth-focused organizations participated in its inaugural Connections event

  • The organizers discussed and shared resource to tackle youth violence

“Change is never the product of one organization’s work but it is truly dependent upon collaboration partnership and working together and that is the purpose of this event,” said Louisville’s Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods Assistant Director Amber Burns-Jones. 

YES!, Youth Engagement Services, is a division of Louisville’s Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods. 

Jones says the goal of Connections events is for youth-focused organizations to discuss and share resources for the city’s expanding youth violence prevention. 

“We’ll have Louisville Urban League, the Goodwill, Metro United Way, those are a number of our major partners,” said Jones. 

The Louisville native says she is a product of similar youth programming when she was growing up.

“I am a testament to what can happen when youth are able to have their voices heard, their power magnified and their voice elevated so I think that it is wonderful that we are here to continue to connect the organizations and create a path for the youth coming after us,” said Jones. 

YES! is also giving youth a seat at the table. It is accepting applications for its inaugural YES! youth cabinet, a one-year advisory board to the mayor and the Metro Council. 

“They will have the opportunity to lift up the voice and issues of young people in their districts as they will have a direct connection to their local leaders,” said Jones.

The number of homicides this year is lower than this time last year. Jones believes programs like YES! play a part in that. “Any loss of life, particularly the life of a young person, has a horrible impact in our communities but what we can do is continue to encourage them, continue to support the organizations that are already doing the work and build their capacity so that we continue to see these downwards trends,” said Jones. 

She believes working together can make an even bigger impact. 

Moving forward Connections events will be held bi-monthly. Applications for the youth cabinet will be accepted through Oct. 31.