ZOO CONTACT: Kyle Shepherd
502-238-5331 (Media Cell 502-744-5639)
Heather Fountaine UofL Health
Partners in Louisville’s Future Healers and Future Healers Got Zoo Buddies programs will travel to Washington D.C. next month for an FBI training session to show how they are engaging and helping kids impacted by gun violence.
Future Healers, initiated in July 2021, includes more than 100 kids aged 4 – 13 who experience fun, educational programming from inspiring mentors through partnerships of Christopher 2X Game Changers, University of Louisville doctors and medical students, and the Louisville Zoo.
“We’re so proud of this invitation from the FBI to help train their workforce, and we’re grateful to our partners at the Zoo and UofL who recognize the importance for our community to help these kids heal, learn to be compassionate, and have hope for a bright future,” said Christopher 2X, executive director of Christopher 2X Game Changers.
2X, along with UofL surgeons Drs. Chris Jones and Keith Miller, and the Zoo’s Education Curator Kim Allgeier, will participate in a panel discussion at the J. Edgar Hoover Building for FBI leadership as part of the agency’s training program. Jodi Cohen, special agent in charge of the FBI Louisville Field Office, will also participate. The event will be recorded and available to FBI offices throughout the country.
“It’s unique partnerships like this that bring people together around a common goal – healing,” said Mayor Fischer. “Thank you to our Louisville Zoo and Christopher 2X for working every day to make Louisville an even more compassionate city for all our residents.”
“We are honored to be a part of the panel to discuss this unique, landmark and impressive program,” said Louisville Zoo Director Dan Maloney. “Future Healers Got Zoo Buddies program has connected kids with animals and nature to emphasize their therapeutic power. It’s been a privilege to watch the kids engage during the first few months of the program. We hope this new approach will have positive healing ripple effects as these young people become lovers of wildlife and nature, grow to feel included and comfortable in wild places, and ultimately become conservation heroes.”
“As surgeons we see the effects of gun violence first-hand every day and we see families on their worst days,” said UofL transplant surgeon, Dr. Christopher Jones. “Future Healers opens a unique door to engage in compassionate and proactive ways.
We look forward to sharing lessons learned and hope that it can aide other communities in finding unique ways to address an issue that affects us all.”
“We believe this is a novel approach to what is a crisis in our country, and we’re excited to share that together in Washington, D.C.,” said UofL Health Trauma surgeon Dr. Keith Miller. “A paradigm shift is required in how our institutions serve our community and the youth directly impacted by gun violence. We cannot continue the ‘come to us and we’ll help’ model and instead need to proactively implement an engaging and inclusive ‘we’ll come to you’ model. That’s what this public health crisis calls for, and we share a commitment to these kids and their families to come together to do better.”
In a letter inviting 2X to participate in the session, James Robert Brown, Jr., assistant director of the FBI’s Operational Technology Division and a former Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Louisville Field Office, said, “The work that Christopher 2X Game Changers is doing for the community is inspiring.”
“The impact trauma has on children is heavy, and the way your team incorporates different ways of healing is impactful. Engaging young children with nature and animal preservation is a unique way to instill empathy and other great character traits in the next generation.”
He also complimented the benefits of exposing kids affected by violence to medical professionals so they can “learn more about STEM careers and helping others.”
“I look forward to you sharing your experiences with the FBI workforce,” Brown said. (Brown’s invitation letter to 2X is attached to this release)
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