More youth programs could be on the way for Wilmington community - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

More youth programs could be on the way for Wilmington community centers

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© Wilmington City Council will consider entering into a partnership with the YMCA and Community Enrichment Initiatives (CEI) organization Tuesday. © Wilmington City Council will consider entering into a partnership with the YMCA and Community Enrichment Initiatives (CEI) organization Tuesday.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Wilmington community centers have seen a noticeable dip in funding during the last few years.  These financial cuts have resulted in fewer hours of operation and the removal of programs geared toward the youth.

On Tuesday, Wilmington City Council could alleviate some of those program pains being felt at the city's centers. Council will consider entering into a partnership with the YMCA and Community Enrichment Initiatives (CEI) organization. The collective group would then apply for a North Carolina Department of Public Instruction grant that would bring after-school programs to community centers.

Steve Harrell, Community Services Director for the City of Wilmington, said each organization would have its own role in the process.

"The actual applicant for the grant is the YMCA.  The city's role is to provide the space in our centers," explained Harrell.

Harrell said that the partnership would be a good way start to bringing increased funding back to city community centers. If approved, Harrell thinks this initiative will help combat the recent gang violence that has plagued the city.

"This is definitely a follow-up to some of the meetings we've been having this past year with regard to gang activity.  It's going to target middle school students and hopefully it will give them the incentive to stay the course, finish high school, get that diploma and move on,"  Harrell explained.

City Manager Sterling Cheatham is also making a presentation on youth violence reduction at Tuesday night's city council meeting.

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