Community Spotlight: LION

Why does LION exist?

Across our nation – and here locally in St. Cloud – our poorest communities are in crisis.  Conflict seems to be everywhere.  We hear a lot of talk of what to do. At LION Community Enrichment Programs, we are taking ACTION to be part of the solution.

What does LION do?

LION Community Enrichment Programs, Inc. is a 501c3 nonprofit organization in St. Cloud established to ensure individuals have the resources, competency, and awareness needed to contribute to a thriving, productive and nurturing community. Through culturally sustaining group work and counseling, we work with individuals to improve their mental health, inspiring the introspection and self-actualization that provide a foundation for living a productive life.  We nurture the personal growth that leads to healthy communities.

A message from Ken Hanna, director of LION:

Young Black men are locked up at a much higher rate than Caucasian young men. We are losing record numbers of Black males to violence. Research shows that 70% of young men under correction supervision have a mental health diagnosis and at least 55% can be dually diagnosed.

I have spent much of my time and energy working with youth in the community. My first experience in the field was working in group home for adolescent males, and since then, I have worked in foster care and adoption, residential programs, chemical dependency programs, as well as in an emergency trauma center. I am also involved in the community with the African American Male Junior Forum.

I  currently work with males of all ages from 8 to adulthood. I recognize that these young men are in pain, they have all experienced childhood trauma, and they carry a lot of grief and loss that need resolution in order for them to move into self-sufficient and self-aware adults.

There are a number of young men who do not meet the criteria for a mental illness diagnosis but need support and healing. I wanted to provide therapeutic nurturing groups for these young Black males, but I found that there was little to no funding available for these young men. With support of friends and family I formed the nonprofit, LION Community Enrichment Programs, Inc. Our goal is to access private and public funding through grants and donations to provide that safe space for healing.

I feel fortunate that I am able to engage with clients of African descent within a culturally relevant context.We explore issues of anger/rage, alienation, respect, childhood trauma, issues related to parental abandonment, the journey from boyhood to manhood and their ideas of manhood and masculinity. I am non-judgmental and I do not focus on what is wrong, rather I focus on the strengths that these resilient youth possess and help them to transform their stress into more positive perspectives.

Please consider donating to support our work at LION Community Enrichment Programs, Inc. today through our website,