‘One Lexington’ impacting students academically, socially

Lexington's youth gun violence prevention program is seeing results, according to the city

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Lexington’s youth gun violence prevention program, ‘One Lexington’, is seeing results, according to the city. In the last year, the city says ‘One Lexington’ has reached 3,000 kids, mediated with 15 teenagers where violence had occurred and served 24 families impacted by gun violence.

“I enjoy this group and I think it’s important for more teenagers like me to be in this group,” says Winburn Middle School seventh grader Jamarlon Griffin.

Griffin is just one of the Fayette County Public School students Devine Carama has touched with his work in ‘One Lexington.’ Griffin shared how through the school mentorship program with ‘One Lexington’, he’s learned techniques for making good decisions like not taking the negativity of others personally.

“What I think about myself and know to be true, matters more,” says Griffin.

Southern Middle School’s Principal Kevin Payne says ‘One Lexington’s’ mentorship and mediation has improved academics for students in the program at his school by 75% and the school has seen a 52% decrease in discipline referrals.

“They just need somebody to talk to. There’s always a reason behind the behavior,” says Payne. “Devine has a special gift of finding that reason and attacking that reason and helping with that reason.”

Not only are discipline referrals in schools decreasing, but according to the city, the rate of shootings has slowed by 50% and overall violent crime is down 1.7%. Carama says he doesn’t like ‘One Lexington’ to focus on numbers because they represent lives lost and even one is too many.

“Numbers is what sticks out,” says Carama. “But when you are supporting family members and mothers and grandmothers who have lost a 10-year-old, when you are supporting people who have lost loved ones, it’s not just numbers and data for us.”

‘one Lexington’ wants to continue the mentorship and mediation in even more schools next year. The organization is also continuing to work with the national organization Cities Untied on developing a long-term plan for addressing Lexington’s crime.

“How do we address the disparities and the root causes that lead to the cycle of violence that we’re seeing?” says Carama.

To get involved with ‘One Lexington’, email Carama at dcarama@lexingtonky.gov or the city’s Community Response Coordinator Larry Johnson at ljohnson@lexingtonky.gov.

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