East Alabama youth club fights to stay open - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

East Alabama youth club fights to stay open

By Curtis McCloud -   bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -25 is the magic number at Friday night's fundraiser for the Phenix-Russell youth center. Founders and former members gathered at the banquet to kick off a campaign with hopes of raising $25,000 to keep the youth center open.

"We're here to raise money so that we can keep this organization going, in order to do that we need the community's help," committee chair Jeffery Williams said.

Its help that Nicole Ramirez is willing to give. Her two boys attend the youth center and she doesn't want that to end.

"It's a very safe haven for them, very positive, people are positive and very active," Ramirez said.

Ramirez says the youth center is the perfect place for her boys while she is at work. Having them go there helps her save money.

"Two children in after school and its 7 dollars per child you add that up a day, you know that can be very pricey," Ramirez said.

Founding member Lucille Dixion says that the center is an important resource for today's youth.

"We need to help our young people be productive, learn things and be good citizens," Dixion said.

"There is that old African proverb, it takes a village to raise a child, and tonight we've seen that within the community, a deserving community has come together," Jeffery Williams said.  

The center lost its charter with the boys and girls club in May of 2009. Founding member Bill Hogencamp is hoping to get that charter back and bring more funding to the center.

"We're going to try to get it to be a boys club again, and funded by the United Way again by the end of this year," Hogencamp said.

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