NEW ORLEANS – The Mayor’s Office of Youth and Families, the Office of Criminal Justice Coordination and the Director of Strategic Initiatives this weekend at the Milne Rec Center engaged with local youth as part of the City’s inaugural “It Takes a Village” event to provide family support and services to prevent encounters with law enforcement.
“While we are committed to enforcing the law, we are equally committed to ensuring that young people with bright futures do not have additional law enforcement involvement. This event provided youth and families with an opportunity to connect youth and families with the support services they need,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
Following opening remarks by Mayor Cantrell and NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson, parents and youth divided into smaller breakout sessions to engage in open and frank dialogue. Mayor Cantrell met individually with parents to offer insight on how to use services and work together to prevent future encounters with law enforcement, while youth worked with service providers in breakout groups.
The event also was supported by the New Orleans Police Department. Judge Arthur Hunter from Criminal Court and Judge Desiree Cook-Calvin from Juvenile Court were present and supported the event.
“This event is part of a broader strategy by the Mayor’s Office to encounter youth as early as possible to not only reduce crime but give them the tools they need to stay out of the criminal justice system, off the streets and instead to lead safe, productive lives,” said Joshua Cox, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of Strategic Initiatives. “We hope to build on this event and engage with as many youth as possible.”
Youth also were provided backpacks, courtesy Walmart as part of its back-to-school efforts in the community.
“We understand that back-to-school is one of the busiest times of the year for families which is why we’re committed to making back-to-school shopping easier and more affordable,” said Walmart corporate communications spokeswoman Anne Hatfield. “We are proud to support New Orleans youth so they can ease into their first day of school feeling prepared with brand new supplies and gear.”
Supporting providers and agencies included:
- Black Man Rising
- The Center for Restorative Approaches
- Children’s Bureau
- Covenant House
- Cure Violence
- Daughters Beyond Incarceration
- Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children
- Liberty’s Kitchen
- Limitless Vistas, Inc.
- Metropolitan Human Services District
- New Orleans Police Juvenile Counseling Unit
- New Orleans Public Library
- Orleans Parish Juvenile Court Teen Court
- Orleans Parish School Board
- Roots of Music
- Son of a Saint
- STEM NOLA
- Youth Empowerment Project