Non-profit updates city on program to help youth

 

LaGRANGE – The Adaptive Growth and Cultural Advancement Organization went before LaGrange City Council on Tuesday to deliver a report on the progress of the program that received funding from the city last year.

The community outreach organization focuses on providing a good place for kids to go after school, and provides homework help to those kids who may not be able to receive that help at home. The organization hopes that by providing the assistance, fewer kids will get in trouble during times when they may be left to their own devices by busy, working parents.

“Our competitive edge is, I feel that I have a unique ability to be able to reach kids that other organizations are not able to reach because of my experience and my upbringing in those communities,” said program organizer Leon Childs. “I used to be these kids. I used to get in trouble. I used to skip school. I used to do all these things. I feel that if I were to have had a program like the AGCAO when I was growing up, I would not have made a lot of the mistakes that I did when I was coming up.”

The program received some start-up money from the city last year which allowed it to purchase supplies like pens, pencils, paper and books for the students in the program. The funding also helped cover the cost of tutors for children in the program, and city officials expressed their gratitude to program organizers for the hard work that they have done in the last year to make the program a success.

“Thank you so much for what you are doing for the young people of the community,” said Mayor Jim Thornton. “I’ve had the opportunity to come and visit on one occasion when you had the tutoring on, going. It was great to meet not only some of your tutors, some of your kids that were in the program, so it was a great experience for me. … I think your issue that you had alluded to is having more children then mentors and tutors, and so often in the community we hear that.

“There is clearly a need for some of these program, and there are lots of young people out there who not only benefit from them, but are eager to participate in them, and we just need more… volunteers in the community to step up and support these programs because they are so very important. If we are going to do something different, we have got to start with the young people.”

According to Childs, the program currently serves 55 students, with an additional 25 students on the waiting list, both girls and boys. The program is in need of tutors and volunteers, and it is working to raise funding through several grant applications and a raffle fundraiser.

The program meets on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. at the Mike Daniel Recreation Center and on Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. at the William Griggs Recreation Center.

“All I’m trying to do is make a difference in the community, and teach these kids that they do not have to make the same mistakes which I have made,” said Childs.

To learn more about the Adaptive Growth and Cultural Advancement Organization, visit them on Facebook.

Reach Alicia B. Hill at alicia.hill@lagrangenews.com or at 706-884-7311, Ext. 2154.