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Durham YMCA Helping Youth in Crime-Ridden Area

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DURHAM — Many kids in crime ridden areas admit they turnto trouble because there's nothing else to do. That's why the Durham YMCAis trying to keep hundreds of kids busy with a new program called "ProjectGeneration Exellence."

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

As Community Outreach Director, former Duke basketball player PhilHenderson is an outstanding role model to the kids. Henderson, the YMCAstaff, and a group of volunteers, plan to guide the kids through a varietyof recreational and educational programs. It's all free for children fromcrime-ridden, low income areas -- those who appreciate a change ofenvironment.

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

Project Generation Exellence is supposed to help kids with self esteemand 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. Programvolunteer Martina Dunford says the community needs to help these kids.

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

Photographer:Ron Pittman

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