LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A warm welcome and friendly face can go a long way, but members of the Bates Community Development Corporation are giving even more to the Smoketown Neighborhood.
The organization hosted an open house at Bates Memorial Church on Thursday as part of the Give for Good Louisville Campaign.
“We are in an under-served between Shelby Park and Smoketown and we want to help change it,” said Bates CDC Executive Director, Nachand Trabue.
It wasn't that long ago the yellow balloons hanging inside the church could have been yellow crime tape. In August 2016, a violent week left three young people dead and their families mourning.
“It kind of made me sad,” said Serenity Hurt.
Hurt’s cousin, Troyvonte Hurt was the 14-year-old killed in that summer stretch of deadly shootings. She told WHAS 11 News that had he been in a Bates CDC program, like Kingdom Academy that serves 1st through 8th graders, things might've been different.
“They teach us about doing the right thing and not doing the bad thing and stuff like that,” she explained.
Trabue said it was that week of violence that drove her to step it up.
“We just kind of felt defeated and we said ‘no we can't feel defeated, let's put a program in place to help everything,’” Trabue said enthusiastically.
Bates CDC offers anything from educational programs for kids to financial programs for adults, and nutrition programs for the whole family.
And the initiative seems to be working.
Data from LMPD's 4th Division shows there have been zero gun-related homicides in the first six months of 2018.
The positive changes are also spilling over into surrounding neighborhoods. Violent crime in the entire 4th Division is down about 14% and homicides in the 4th Division are down 33%, according to data released in July.
“For us to have the opportunity to stay in Smoketown and show the love, shows people something different. There is an alternative, there is a way,” said Board member Tiffany Smith.
The Give for Good Louisville Campaign is a 24-hour online giving day. To donate anytime, click here.