Source: The News-Enterprise
January 12, 2021
A grant will allow a newly formed partnership of nonprofits to develop a Rites of Passage program for Black youth in Louisville, a news release said.
The Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence has provided a $200,000 grant to three organizations — Bridge Kids International, Play Cousins Collective and Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest — to develop this program.
According to the release, the program will include immersive experiences in nature as part of nurturing a new generation of young Black men and women during a critical phase of development.
Bernheim’s Children at Play Network Director Claude Stephens said research points to the value of nature and play for social, emotional, physical and cognitive development.
He said this program “will provide a path for youth to actualize their hopes and dreams. The goal of each of these three organizations is not to give anyone anything, except the tools to get to where they want to go.”
Stacy Bailey-Ndiaye, BKI executive director, said she anticipates Black youth developing a stronger, positive ethnic/racial identity as an outcome of the program.
“As a result of youth being exposed to a culturally relevant curriculum, positive peer group, and committed role models, we expect youth participants to nurture a positive sense of self – as proud and powerful young adults of African heritage – which will lead to a range of positive outcomes,” she said in the release. “Furthermore, we believe there will be a unique benefit of engaging these youth in natural outdoor landscapes, such as Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. We expect young people to have an increased connection to, and appreciation for the natural environment.”
Additional service partners will be identified for participation in the program as it is developed, the release said.