KILLEEN - The Killeen Community Center answered the call to action made by city councilman Gregory Johnson, after he told Channel 6 he believes a lack of summer youth programs would skyrocket crime rates.
"I always tell citizens that regardless of their economic background our youth are our future and they all deserve and they all deserve the opportunity to take advantage of quality youth programs," Johnson said.
The community center announced it will host an open gym from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. all summer long to give Killeen's youth a positive outlet during summer break, rather than spending their days on the streets or sitting on the couch at home. Two additional classrooms will be used to hold youth activities and programs. Lastly, children who attend the program will also benefit from a free breakfast and lunch program.
It all starts on Monday. Sign up for the program is on a first come, first served basis.
Volunteer Services Director Roxanne Flores-Achmad said the measures taken are a step in the right direction.
"I think it's important," Flores said. "One it gives them an opportunity to network and make friends, two it gets them off their couches maybe they are sitting at home bored and so it gives them an opportunity to get physically active, have a nutritional meal and just come out and make new friends and maybe learn a skill."
Flores added she would like to see the free summer youth programs become an annual commodity for Killeen's youth.
Johnson believes there is still much more work to be done, but sees this program as a victory moving forward for the community.
"I want to use this momentum to prove that when the community comes together to address an issue anything is possible," Johnson said.
For more information to volunteer or sign children up for the program, call (254)501-8889, or visit the Killeen Community Center in person at 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd.
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