NEW ORLEANS – Mayor LaToya Cantrell today introduced the new leadership team in place at the Youth Study Center, and highlighted some of the recent positive developments at the facility. These include the awarding of a two-year, $100,000 grant from the National Basketball Players Association Foundation (NBPA) to the Youth Study Center. The grant will support a partnership between the Youth Study Center, Elevate New Orleans and Travis Hill NOLA’s Welcoming Project. Through this grant, Elevate New Orleans will provide positive, sports-based youth development programming at the City’s Youth Study Center. Travis Hill NOLA’s Welcoming Project will provide reentry services and support once a youth has left the Center.
“The Youth Studies Center is our top priority, and a central part of my administration’s commitment to Cure Violence and to address public safety as a matter of public health,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “We are grateful for the investment the National Basketball Players Association Foundation is making in our young people and in our City. This funding will help provide programs that engage these young people at the Center, and set them up for success.”
Through this grant, the Mayor’s newly created Office of Youth and Families will join Elevate New Orleans in providing basketball skill development as well as life skills and career coaching for the young people at the Youth Study Center. The center is led by interim director Dr. Kyshun Webster (pictured, above). Approximately 20 youths, ages 15-17, who are detained at the Youth Study Center will attend athletic and career development programming for four hours each week. Once participants transition out of detention, they will receive an internship stipend and scholarship to pursue their own workforce pathway or educational goals.
Case managers from Travis Hill New Orleans’ Welcoming Project will support youth steadily for five years as they navigate work or educational options. The unique combination of recreation, mentoring, financial incentive and post-release support services has been proven to increase completion and placement rates in workforce development programs. It also establishes a coordinated network of care for individuals engaged in the juvenile justice system.
The money from the grant will be equally divided into the two years.
Sherrie Deans, Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association Foundation, said, “We are happy to support the Mayor’s Office of Youth and Families in launching this new initiative at the Youth Detention Center. This grant extends the commitment we made to the city during the 2017 All Star Game and reflects the ongoing support of the young people of New Orleans by NBA players.”
Emily Wolff, Director of the Office of Youth and Families, said, “This partnership speaks to the core function of the Office of Youth and Families, which is to expand resources for our most vulnerable youth. We’re also glad to be able to lift up the important work that organizations like Elevate USA and Travis Hill NOLA are doing in our community.”
Sky Hyacinthe, Executive Director of Elevate USA, said, “I believe that every individual wants to be successful, but the ones that receive the resources, mentorship, and guidance tend to have a better chance of success. I believe this program will provide the items I mentioned to assist these young people in their pursuit of success.”
Sarah Omojola, Director of Travis Hill NOLA’ Welcoming Project, said, “We are grateful for this partnership with the National Basketball Players Association Foundation, Mayor Cantrell, the Office of Youth and Families, and Elevate USA to mentor and support system-involved youth on their path to contributing positively to the New Orleans community. Breaking down silos and funding partnerships like ours are critical to the success of the young people, especially those enrolled in the Welcoming Project.”
About the Partners
Youth Student Center: The Youth Study Center is a pre-trial detention center for young people ages 10-17 who have been charged with committing a delinquent offense. Its purpose is to provide quality evidence-based juvenile detention practices with a focus on public safety, accountability, and individual treatment needs of the juvenile. https://www.nola.gov/youth-study-center.
Elevate New Orleans: Elevate New Orleans is a 501(c)3 dedicated to elevating the life skills and abilities of inner-city student-athletes in America through mentor-based programs in athletic, academic and social development. The program provides wraparound services for youth by linking them to tutoring, SAT/ACT prep, college/career planning assistance and basketball skill development by elite trainers. http://elevateusa.org.
Travis Hill NOLA: Travis Hill NOLA’s Welcoming Project guides system-involved teens and young adults as they transition out of incarceration and back into the community. Case workers help to connect youth to work opportunities, provide ongoing mentoring and help advance their educational goals in order to ensure youth success. https://www.travishillnola.org/welcomingproject.
National Basketball Players Association Foundation: The NBPA Foundation highlights and accelerates the real and collaborative work that players do worldwide to build their communities and create meaningful change. Professional basketball players have long sought to build and inspire communities by dedicating their time, thought and resources. Today, their work is global and collectively spans a wide range, from critical charitable initiatives to social entrepreneurship. The NBPA Foundation provides strategic funding and support while also communicating the players’ endeavors to the world in order to accelerate and maximize the impact.