October 27, 2020 News & Features » Cover Story

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Kim Young, 32 

Director of Family and Community Engagement, Peter Paul Development Center and Dope Black Social Worker, LCSW, Owner.

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Scott Elmquist

At the age of 14, Kim Young knew something wasn’t right. The injustices she witnessed in Black communities, particularly among Black youth compelled her to get involved.

“I didn’t know what social work was until I graduated from undergrad and then found my way into the field,” she says. “Ever since then, it has given me a home for my rage to live, for my compassion to live and a place to do the work.”

The work involves increasing the visibility of Black youth and providing direct clinical services. With her business, Dope Black Social Worker, she speaks, strategizes, consults and offers clinical supervision in a positive manner. Not everyone may agree with her all her methods, she admits, but she is determined to eliminate barriers for Black youth, create pathways to opportunity and allow them to be dreamers.

“What gets me out of bed in the morning is to make sure Black youth get the absolute best,” she says. “Because they deserve the absolute best.”

The biggest obstacle to her work is misuse of power, she says, adding that the Black Lives Matter movement that disrupted the power structure created opportunities. “I consider myself to be a long-term strategist and all the uprising that occurred this summer created windows of opportunity,” she explains. “Like they say, you can’t waste a good crisis. I have been able to press down and get things done.”

She says the fact that City of Richmond is embracing a violence prevention framework is proof.

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