One professor at Kentucky State University has spent his career working with college students and young people. In fact, the North Carolina native is in his 43rd academic year with Kentucky State now.

Dr. Herman E. Walston, professor of child development and family relations, said working with first-generation college students and youth motivate him to continue his work.

“I really enjoy making a difference in young people’s lives, especially those who are at-risk,” Walston said.

Walston has plenty of opportunity to make a difference. The current academic year is full of major projects.

Walston is administering the Please Call Me Mister project, funded by the U.S. Office of Health and Human Services, for middle school African-American and Hispanic students in grades six through eight.

“The project was funded as an innovative approach to reduce the prevalence and impact of youth violence among racial and ethnic minority and disadvantaged at-risk youth,” Walston said. “The males who make up the project are males who have directly experienced violence or directly observed interpersonal violence and/or violence in their immediate community.”

Walston said 85 males from Franklin County participate in the program.

Walston also administers the 4-H Youth Development project, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for two years.

“The project serves 75 African-American and Hispanic children and youth in grades five through eight,” Walston said. “The project is unique in that it is a culturally relevant and evidence-supported approach for responding to trauma in African-American and Hispanic youth.”

Walston said the program provides life skills development and focuses on addressing trauma-related issues that many of the participants experienced, enabling them to heal, grow and thrive in the face of chronic stress and trauma.

Walston is also involved in a variety of events sponsored by the Promising Youth Center for Excellence.

Earlier in January, the center presented a substance abuse, addiction and recovery seminar in partnership with First Corinthian Baptist Church.

The Please Call Me Mister project is sponsoring various training for first responders, social workers, child care providers and mental health clinicians in February through April. Kentucky State faculty and students may also attend.

The Promising Youth Center for Excellence will also host its annual literacy and arts showcase in the Carl H. Smith Auditorium in David H. Bradford Hall April 18.

Through his work, Walston has affected many lives.