TreyVon Neely knows what people see when West Louisville is described in the media: violence, inequality, crime, poverty.
The 23-year-old was born and raised in the California neighborhood. Yes, he has seen friends and family affected by violence. Yes, he and people close to him have had run-ins with the judicial system.
But Neely sees something else in West Louisville. Something he considers much more important and true to his experience.
He sees his childhood. He sees a place where neighbors stop their cars on the corner just to say hello. He sees, at its core, a community filled with strong, resilient residents.
“This is home,” he said.
Neely is one of several West Louisville youth fellows working with the University of Louisville’s School of Public Health and Information Sciences (SPHIS) to rewrite the narrative of how West Louisville neighborhoods, residents and, specifically, youth are viewed. By combining academic research with grassroots community action, UofL’s Youth Violence Prevention Research Center (YVPRC), aims to reduce youth violence by helping young people understand the context associated with the conditions in which they live, and to provide them with the tools they need to lead the community toward transformation.
“It’s really personal for me to make a change,” Neely said, with a look of quiet resolve.