140 participate in Lexington youth commission town-hall forum

kward1@herald-leader.comAugust 9, 2011 

At least 140 people participated in a town hall forum aimed at youth Tuesday night at the Lyric Theatre in Lexington.

The event was considered a first step for getting young people involved in the newly formed Commission on Youth Development and Public Safety.

The commission, created in June, plans to address safety, health and crime prevention; leisure, recreation and quality of life; and personal development and economic stimulus as those topics relate to youth.

About 50 people have joined the commission, said Councilman Chris Ford, who helped initiate the formation of the group after two young people were killed and another wounded by gunshots in May.

Shantoya Richardson, a Bryan Station High School graduate and freshman at the University of Louisville who sat on a panel that helped keep the dialogue going Tuesday night, suggested that to engage more young people, the group needs to "go into every school" and try to get teens talking by bringing in other teens to interact with them.

Corey Dunn, who attended the forum, said a critical challenge is engaging not the young people who were in attendance, but those who need the commission's help the most.

"The ones that are lost, they don't come to these meetings. The ones that are out there selling dope, they're not here," he said. "If they don't come to these meetings, we should go to them."

Lexington police Capt. James Turley agreed.

"Most of these young men just need someone to show them a little TLC," he said.

"We're losing youth by the minute. We need to be doing something instead of talking."

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