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With homicides trending down, One Lexington pivots toward prevention groups with its latest round of grants

Josh James

Youth anti-violence programs have received grants through One Lexington for the past three years, but this time, the groups have slightly different missions.

One Lexington head Devine Carama says that’s because the number of homicides and shootings has declined dramatically over that time and the trend is holding this year.

"We've seen that progress continue. Now I think we're only at six homicides, almost halfway through the year, and that can be attributed, I believe, to this kind of cross-sector all hands, all hearts on deck approach," he said.

Now, Carama says, his agency can shift toward funding groups that work more on the prevention side. One of those is Operation Making a Change, which provides mentorships, coaching, and support for young people to help stop cycles of violence.

"The positive outcomes are we're seeing our kids, number one, get off probation, because we have opened that door for the kids that are going through the court system and need a chance. And not only that, you know, a lot of kids that didn't think they could go to college... they're going to college, they're coming back, they're volunteering. They're putting in work in the community," says the group’s director, Geo Gibson.

In all 15 groups were awarded grants this year to continue their work.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.