WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - One Wilmington after-school enrichment program is battling for funding these days.
Daryl Dockery is the founder of WRAAP, a free program that works to educate the city's at-risk youth and keep them off the streets. He said the organization has been around for seven years now.
The program runs Monday through Thursday during the week. Parents don't have to pay for the service. While students are at WRAAP, they are fed for free and receive help with their homework.
Unfortunately for Dockery, the program has lost funding at the federal and state levels the past couple of years. The program's founder said that it has lost 60 percent of its original funding. Dockery said that the program had 150 kids at one point and is now down to around 40 kids.
"We've had to reduce our staffing size. We've reduced the number of kids we can serve and the number of outreach programs that we offer," explained Dockery.
Dockery said he has asked the New Hanover County Commissioners for money, but they couldn't provide the organization with any funding.
Jonathan Barfield, a New Hanover County Commissioner, said he would like to help the organization, but the county can't spare the money right now.
"Hopefully, one way or another we can find some resources down the road that can help his organization," said Barfield.
Chris Sims is in his 20s and has been working with WRAAP for multiple years.
"They want to know how we can keep kids out the streets. Its programs like this," said Sims. "You know that's going keep kids safe, that's going to keep them out of gangs."
Sims said that Dockery helped him grow up and stay away from trouble as an adolescent living in Wilmington.
"He's making a difference. I'm a living testimony," said Sims. "I wouldn't be in the same position if he wasn't in my life."
Dockery hopes to change his program's financial situation in order to continue changing lives.
To learn more about WRAAP, visit the organization's official website:http://www.nc-wraap.com/
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