LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — ONE Lexington unveiled a new podcast featuring conversations with young people across the city on Tuesday.
Director Devine Carama developed "Youth Voices of Lexington" in 2021, hoping to provide a safe space for young people to discuss issues impacting them.
"As somebody that works with youth for a living, you get invited to these meetings, these think tanks, you know, these community forums where we're talking about what young people need, what they want, what we can do for them. And I'm like, it's just ironic that all these meetings that are about youth, there's no youth present. How can we speak to their needs and their feelings without bringing them to the table?" said Carama.
That's why ONE Lexington decided to partner with other youth organizations in the community like Urban Impact, a youth-serving initiative designed to equip young people to be leaders in the neighborhoods.
"We want to see effective change across all of Lexington," said Director of Urban Impact Marcus Patrick. "We have to find different stakeholders all over the city. And for us, we're grateful for Devine reaching out to us."
"We're doing what we can in the Woodhill community right now. We opened our community center in 2018 and that's required a lot of our time, effort, and energy. But our desire is to see Lexington whole and to see young people across Lexington known for what they bring to the table and not for the negative things that happen in certain communities."
There will be an episode released every month. Episode one was released Tuesday.
The group of young people talk through a variety of topics like dealing with emotional trauma, processing honestly, and feeling numb to death.
"I feel like our young people do have a voice that is often discounted and if we're talking about all the things that they need and what needs to happen in certain areas for different age groups, you can't say those things without hearing from the young people themselves," said Patrick.
In 2021, 52 people 22-years-old or younger were shot in Lexington. That's 38.8% of all shootings last year.
That age group made up 27% percent of all murders.
"As somebody who's been on the frontlines of this work for a while, you see how these traumatic experiences create a domino effect, and how so many of these violent incidences are connected," said Carama.
Because not everything has to be about solutions, sometimes young people need platforms to heal.
"It's always about steps and how they all connect instead of this thing is the end all this one button, we'll fix everything," said Carama.
One Lexington has a summer program and mentoring youth programs at schools throughout Fayette County.
They are looking for more mentors to help reach even more kids.