Coming together to create a youth center - FOX 13 News

Coming together to create a youth center

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

We have all heard the saying "it takes a village to raise a child." Well, some folks here are really taking it to heart. Their caring attitude is "What's Right with Tampa Bay."

"This is going to be their home away from home," Lena Young-Green founder of Tampa Heights Civic association said.

Lena looks on with pride for what she hopes will make a difference in the lives of kids growing-up in Tampa Heights. Three years ago, Lena came up with an idea while sitting on her front porch watching kids hang out on street corners.

"Our teens do not have a place that they can call their own, where they can hang out, learn stuff, and be relaxed, and have fun," Lena said

So she decided to do something about it.

"We can't keep on saying to youth don't do, don't do, don't do, and not provide them things to do. Positive things ," Lena said.

She organized community meetings, got the Tampa Heights Civic Association involved, and then this youth center was born. What once was a vacant church set for demolition is now being renovated for a new mission of faith.

"Once we get open we know that we are going to make a big impact not only on the community but as well as children and families," said Patrick Sneed, Executive Director of the Tampa Heights Civic Association.

Patrick Sneed says the goal is simple in Tampa Heights, a community challenged by poverty and crime.

"Getting kids involved keeping them involved keeping them out of trouble," he said.

Lena believes that's the secret for teens to reach their full potential.

"If we can help a child with the tools to become a productive adults, not only do the next generation moving forward, but our entire nation of young people that are willing to take on leadership roles." Lena said.

Building new roots to lift a young generation to success in life.

Folks in Tampa Heights have a goal of opening the youth center in January. The city of Tampa donated the former church land, and private donations, and some government funds got building underway. They hope anyone who sees their story will help them finally got the job done.

email: garden@thjca.org

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