LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Children traumatized by violence in the Louisville community is getting worse according to local advocates, and a local couple is stepping up to help out this holiday.
Christopher 2X Gamechangers kicked off the Young Survivors Project in October with UofL Trauma team where children helped decorate YMCA’s Child Development Center. It was a way for them to honor homicide victims. Anthony and Darlene Oxendine were watching the news story on television and felt compelled to do something.
“We realized that there was definitely a need in this community,” owner of Spring Valley Funeral Homes, Anthony Oxendine said. “The YMCA said they needed stuff and we stepped up to help them.”
The couple spent $3,000 out of their own pockets and purchased hundreds of supplies for the classrooms like chairs, books, and sensory materials.
Oxendine met the children for the first time on Tuesday.
“Today is an amazing day to see these children smile and to know that there is hope at the end of the tunnel,” Oxendine said.
YMCA’s Child Development Center serves about 60 children who are just six weeks to five-years-old.
“Many of our children deal with trauma in their home lives,” YMCA’s child care director, Jenny Benner said. “Some children come from single-parent families or families where a parent is incarcerated.”
According to a report released in November by Christopher 2X Gamechangers, more than 4500 people reported hearing gunfire to Louisville Metro Police between January and June in 2019.
“We are a nonprofit so therefore our budget runs at a deficit so we can’t always purchase supplies like this for our children,” Benner said. “When things break sometimes we have to wait a little while to replace them, so to get a call from the Oxendines and know that we were going to be able to replenish and have a lot of great supplies for the kids was pretty amazing.”
As the owner of a funeral home, Oxendine buries homicide victims every year. He sees firsthand how the financial barrier adds an extra layer of stress for families who are grieving; almost always, he steps up by funding services for victims.
“The main goal is is to hope that these children will take these materials and learn and see that there is a lot at the end of the tunnel,” Oxendine said. “They can develop into something and be very successful in life.”