NewsCovering Kentucky


Lexington youth programs shown to increase kids' interest in academics

Posted at 11:46 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 23:46:51-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A local program dedicated to mentoring Lexington teens is heartbroken over the loss of a fourth participant to gun violence. Now, youth program directors are reflecting on the huge losses and the importance of the programs in our community.

The Lexington Leadership Foundation is a faith-based organization that works to transform the city of Lexington by engaging people of faith, building relationships and developing joint initiatives.

"We want them to be leaders in their home, in their neighborhood, in school, wherever they go," Director of Urban Impact Marcus Patrick said. "So our role is to unlock the potential that they have and help them understand that they were created for a purpose and to help them walk in to that purpose."

That's done any number of ways such as art, academics and athletics.

Amachi, a mentor program, deals with children who have family members who have been incarcerated. Maggie Middleton is the director of the Amachi program.

"I've had conversations with kids about just how hard it is, how alone they feel. There's some issues of depression," Middleton explained. "Just having an adult, even if they can't spend time with them in person every single week, having someone check in on them, asks them how they're doing, asks them how online school is going, has made a really big difference."

Middleton says kids in their programs have more of an interest overall in school, sports, and art.

"It really gives them positive adults. And positive adults who really focus on encouraging our kids, being interested in what our kids are doing but also reminding our kids 'hey you have potential, and you have promise' and it's a positive voice that helps steer them in the right direction," Middleton added.