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Community center leaders voice concerns about gaps in summer opportunities for youth

Community leaders are trying to fill in the gap of kid-friendly opportunities after school and during the summer in Wilmington.

A panel of these leaders including Executive Director of the Kingswood Community Center Logan Herring spoke during the July CDC advisory council meeting.

He says there’s a several-hour gap from when kids leave school to when Kingswood opens at 5:30.

“It’s difficult to incentivize the teenagers who are already involved in whatever activity they are after school to come into the building at 5:30 for the programming we’re providing to them. It’s extremely difficult. Not saying it’s impossible but we need to come together to find a way – or a solution – to mitigate that issue.”

Kingswood can’t allow kids older than 12 in the building until after 5:30, leaving an unaccounted for chunk of time for kids with nowhere to go after school.

Kingswood’s summer safe haven program runs from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. and includes dinner and other classes to help keep kids out of trouble.

U’Gundi Jacobs, Executive Director of the Williams "Hicks" Anderson Center was also among those speaking on the CDC advisory council panel about gaps they're seeing in the community.

“Our biggest challenge is with the age population of 16, 17 to maybe 25 and not having employment or employable skills,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs and Kingswood are among those involved in filling out a survey sent out by the CDC council leaders to help improve youth programs in Wilmington.

The CDC council will meet next Tuesday August 9th.

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