GHP May 2017

16 GHP / May 2017 , 1702GH09 It Starts Here The Louisville Urban League is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, interracial community service organization dedicated to the elimination of racismand its effects within our community. Our mission is to assist African-American and disadvantaged persons in the achievement of social and economic equality primarily through education, employment, housing, family development, and community development. As African- Americans began migrating from rural areas to urban communities after the Civil War, they encountered an industrial world which presented enormous opportunities that required new skills and more education. In the early 1900’s a group of progressive African- American women got involved in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program as a way of providing guidance and role models for African-American children. Their efforts expanded when they were joined by a group of African-American and influential Caucasian men seeking to alleviate other problems within the African American community. Thus in 1920, only 10 years after the founding of what was to become the National Urban League, the Louisville Urban League emerged and became a member agency of the Community Chest. It was incorporated in August 1921 and was initially known as The Urban League of Louisville for Social Service Among Negroes and as The Louisville Branch of the National Urban League before becoming the Louisville Urban League. Elwood Street, serving as temporary Chairman, appointed a five- person committee to create the framework for a local Urban League. The agency was started with $1000 which was raised by community residents at a public dinner. Today the Louisville Urban League is about the business of jobs, justice, housing, health and education and our departments work to help families and community members secure the knowledge and resources they need to live happier, healthier, more complete lives. JOBS Our Center for Workforce Development helps to place individuals in the jobs that fit their skills and passion, while preparing them with the training and information they need to keep that job and advance their career. HOUSING The Center for Housing and Financial Education provides assistance to families in need of better housing while combating housing inequities for low to moderate income households. Our comprehensive housing counseling services equip families with the knowledge and support necessary to address their housing needs, improve their financial situation and avoid experiencing the crisis of mortgage foreclosure. Our clients gain the financial literacy and knowledge necessary to obtain and maintain safe, clean, stable and affordable housing. EDUCATION Our Department of Education and Youth Development provides school-aged youth and their parents with the pathways to becoming successful academically, personally, and socially. We work with students at every level from our fourth and fifth grade boys in our Street Academy program, to middle school girls in GLOW, to high school students preparing to go to college through Project Ready. We also help parents understand the school system and learn to navigate the many different questions and issues their student may face through our Parent Leadership Academy. HEALTH Our department of Health Education and Policy contains two primary programs and advocates for a host of issues. The first is our Zones 100 program. Like the Center for Disease Control, we believe Violence is a serious public health problem. From infants to the elderly, it affects people in all stages of life (CDC, 2014). Zones100 is a violence prevention initiative designed to help African American males ages 16 to 27 and their families live in safe communities free of violence. Participants come from the five Louisville Zones Of Hope (Russell, Shawnee, Parkland, California, and Newburg) and the Park Hill and Smoketown neighborhoods. Our goal for our Zones100 participants is to improve life outcomes by increasing employment and education attainment, ultimately impacting life expectancy. Our other initiative is the “It starts with me!” Community Health program. “It starts with me!” is the bridge between every department and initiative affiliated with the organization. By addressing the social determinants of health, the program attempts address the needs of the whole person, not just those that appear expressly medical. There are a number of services, initiatives, and organizations doing good work for the citizens of Louisville, attempting to remedy some of these very issues, but they are not reaching many of the residents who need them most. “It starts with me!” will be the missing connector; integrating community members and services and making it easier for people to access the holistic care they need and live healthier, more active lifestyles. Community Health Navigators work with clients to address a number of needs, including: childcare, chronic health conditions, colon cancer, dental, food and diet, health education/ literacy, housing, mental health, money issues, need a doctor, physical activity, race related stress, social isolation, tobacco and other drugs, unemployment, violence and/or abuse. Needs are identified through a needs assessment that is given to each client. In that assessment, clients are able to identify and prioritize their needs. This allows navigators to work collaboratively with clients and ensures the client’s needs are always first. We believe this holistic approach not only improves lives, but saves time and money