Nonprofit seeks former Cannon Street school for after-school program

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, March 29, 2023

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During the LaGrange City Council work session on Tuesday morning, Charon Prophet, CEO of the Elevation after-school program in Hogansville, asked the city to use the former Cannon Street School for a similar program in LaGrange.

Prophet said the non-profit after-school program in Hogansville caters to an average of 60 to 80 kids. The participants in Hogansville are primarily elementary school students, but Prophet said they would like to include middle and high school students in LaGrange.

“I took that program and created it once Boys and Girls Club left. I was a part of the Boys Girls Club that came here that was in LaGrange, and once they folded that’s when I decided to open up down there,” Prophet said.

Prophet said he thinks the program will help with the recent epidemic of teen violence in LaGrange.

“I do pay attention to the news and what’s going on in LaGrange with the kids. Honestly, I just feel that they don’t have an outlet. They don’t have anything for them after school,” Prophet said.

Prophet said Elevation is more than just an after-school program. It teaches kids life skills.

“We offer more than just academics and after-school. We do field trips on weekends. We teach social skills and team building,” Prophet said. “A lot of these kids out here don’t even have the know-how. They don’t know how to change a tire or don’t even know how to change a light bulb or do anything else.”

Prophet is seeking a rent-free lease on a portion of the former Cannon Street School building as well as financial help from the city in restoring the cafeteria and bathrooms to have a place to run the program in LaGrange.

The group strives to feed kids a hot meal each day, which they would need a functional cafeteria to provide, Prophet said. The bathrooms also need to be fixed before they can even open, he added.

Mayor Willie Edmondson said the city would have to work out the details of the lease and consider the budget, but he voiced support for the idea.

“I’m just the mayor, and I don’t even have a vote,” Edmondson said. “I’ll say this, it’s almost like a prayer being answered because we certainly didn’t want that school to go down in that neighborhood. We’ve been trying to find some programs to go in there.”

Edmondson said the city could discuss the matter in their upcoming annual retreat.

“We’ll have to get everything ready for the budget. This will have to be part of the budget if we decide to do that,” Edmondson said. “Thank you so very much because it certainly is a worthwhile cause. We certainly hope that we can give some good news.”