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Future Healers, Louisville Zoo announce partnership to help kids affected by violence

Younger kids will focus on learning empathy for animals and each other while the older participants will work on conservation projects.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A new partnership is connecting young people in Louisville with animals to help them heal.

Future Healers, an outreach organization that works with kids affected by gun violence, announced Tuesday that it is partnering with the Louisville Zoo in the "Future Healers Got Zoo Buddies" program. 

The partnership will provide special education programs, camps and behind-the-scene opportunities for Future Healers participants between the ages 4 and 13. Younger kids will focus on learning empathy for animals and each other while the older participants will work on conservation projects, according to a release from the Louisville Zoo.

RELATED: Future Healers | Organizers hope program inspires youth impacted by violence to become doctors, helpers

“We all know the therapeutic nature of animals and of being outside and in nature from our own experiences,” said Louisville Zoo Assistant Director for Conservation, Education and Collections Steve Taylor. “This program seems like a very natural, highly emphasized extension of what we already know to be true."

The Future Healers program was established in partnership with Game Changes, organized by community leader Christopher 2X.

"The healing value to our children and their parents is paramount," Christopher 2X said. "What we envision is for these kids to become humanitarian advocates."

Seventeen participants involved with Future Healers were chosen for the "Future Healers Got Zoo Buddies" program and all 50 kids in the organization will get to visit the zoo.

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