The Boy Scouts of America is forming a partnership with Louisville Metro Government for a new after school pilot program to help at-risk youth and teach them needed skills to deal with drugs and violence.
Mayor Greg Fischer and other city officials unveiled the NOVA Center on Monday, which will involve the Boy Scouts, Jefferson County Public Schools and Metro Parks in the California neighborhood.
It will take in more than three dozen student from Wheatley Elementary, who will be recommended from the schools’ family resource center. NOVA will offer math and science tutoring, as well as life skills and mentoring on how to avoid alcohol, drug abuse and bullying.
Fischer says the task of combating violence starts with the youngest children, but it won’t be successful unless everyone participates.
“And so the Boy Scouts stepping up here should really be applauded. It’s a way they’re going to be directly affecting the lives of these kids one student at a time. And whether you look at 55,000 degrees or 15,000 degrees, people often say ‘how can you get it done?’ And I give them the same answer: you get it done one student at a time. It’s not easy,” he says.
The NOVA Center will cost $25,000 to run and the Boy Scouts of America is providing the full funding. The city is providing free space for classroom, gym and kitchen activities at the California Park Community Center.
Boy Scouts officials says they will hire additional staff to run the program and oversee the participants.
Those who support the idea argue part of the city’s push to address violence prevention and implement specific measures has to make sure young children know how to make the right choices.
“I believe that our young people, when they’re really, really young is when we have to get them focused and directed into better opportunities in life. Waiting until other influences have taken over it’s hard to remove that,” says Councilman David James, D-6, who represents part of the California area. “If we can catch these kids at a really young age and get them in the right direction and put opportunities in their hands the world is their plate.”