Local News

Durham YMCA Helping Youth in Crime-Ridden Area

Posted November 4, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Many kids in crime ridden areas admit they turn to trouble because there's nothing else to do. That's why the Durham YMCA is trying to keep hundreds of kids busy with a new program called "Project Generation Exellence."

It's a short distance from Durham's infamous Few Gardens housing project to the city's new YMCA, but, for some inner city kids, it's a world away. These are the first young participants in the Durham Y's new program.

As Community Outreach Director, former Duke basketball player Phil Henderson is an outstanding role model to the kids. Henderson, the YMCA staff, and a group of volunteers, plan to guide the kids through a variety of recreational and educational programs. It's all free for children from crime-ridden, low income areas -- those who appreciate a change of environment.

Few Gardens resident Kenshawn Stanley says he loves going to the Y.

Project Generation Exellence is supposed to help kids with self esteem and character development, but parts of the project are just plain fun.

Many of the kids have never seen a pool like the one at the Y.

Volunteers say they want the kids to head down the right path. Program volunteer Martina Dunford says the community needs to help these kids.

It's not just swimming and basketball for the kids in the program. They also receive tutoring. In order to stay in the program kids have to stay out of trouble and maintain their grades.

Photographer:Ron Pittman