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Durham Offers Inner City Kids a Safe Haven

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DURHAM — Almost every town has neighborhoods where kids feel uncomfortable playing outside. InDurham, thecity governmentand residents are trying to provide a safe alternative.

Police statistics prove northeast central Durham is one of the Bull City's most dangerous neighborhoods. Now, kids who live there have a safe haven.

The "Safe Haven" program is run byDurham Parks and RecreationandPartners Against Crime. Using a federal grant, workers here give inner city children a secure place to just be kids.

"You've heard about kids getting hit by cars, being [hit] by stray bullets. That's part of my issue," says Partners in Crime member Jackie Wagstaff. "[In] environments like this, they're able to do some of the things they want to do in a safe environment, without me having to worry about it."

The Safe Haven is in the old Holloway Street school; it is not a traditional school any more, but the kids are still getting an education. They are learning that thereisa safe place to go.

Laura Morales, 10, comes here every day to find peace. Monday night she heard two gunshots.

"Once, I was living on Eva Street," Morales says. "There was this guy who was riding down the street, and he had a gun, and he came around shooting and stuff," she says.

Organizers say more than 200 neighborhood kids visit the Safe Haven on an average day.

The federal funds for the program will last another two years. People here hope the city picks up the bill after those funds run out.


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