Keeping more area children off streets - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Keeping more area children off streets

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In order to continue providing free programs to a growing number of area children, a local youth center needs your help.

More than 100 area children could be kept off the streets busy playing sports or doing activities, but Amarillo Activity Youth Center needs to remodel their building to meet the city's standards to be able to do that.

Participant Ray Villalon says, "Just play with the sword with other people... It keeps me busy after school."

Griz Lara has kids at the Youth Center. She says, "I have two children ages 11 and 15. They've been here for a year. My daughter is in the Youth Cabinet. And my son does fencing, and so does my daughter. I decided to bring them over here because it keeps my children off the streets."

Lara is trying to get her associate's degree in computer information systems with the help of this youth center. She says, "It helps me out so I can go to school. That way I'm at school, and I know my kids are safe."

This non-profit is trying to make their building, which is over 50 years old, safer so they can expand to include more children. Their goal is to raise $300,000. Just a sprinkler system alone is about $180,000.

They need to repair floors and redo roofs. Executive Director Matt Hite says, "We're working on getting the building more up to code so we can have more kids in the building. But also so there are more activities for them to do. We also struggle with having volunteers. We always need additional volunteers and helpers. Everything from sweeping the floor to watching the front counter to actually working directly with the kids and teaching them."

They offer free programs to families who can not afford them like Lara's. She says, "I don't have to worry about to pay anything out of pocket for my children to be here. It's amazing. It's just great help."

The organization is having a car show Saturday, June 8th to raise funds, but they're asking people to pre-register by June 1st so they can know how much space they need for the event.

Call (806) 373- AAYC if you're interested.

Jessica Abuchaibe, NewsChannel 10.