YOC Celebrates 20 Years of Helping Youth

- Hundreds of Wichita Falls youth have learned to dance, paint, box and play instruments through the guidance they received at the Youth Opportunities Center.

Saturday the YOC is celebrating 20 years of making a difference in the community.

20 years ago Brenda Jarret set out to make her vision a reality.

“I went into the community, brown paper bag, raised the money, took it back to the owners and they donated the facility to our organization, thus YOC was born,” says Jarret.

That determination gave Jarrett the ability to mentor hundreds of kids and teens, giving them a positive way to express themselves.

“Take a treasure like those young people and just give them a different perspective, change any criminal and negative behavior by telling them who they are and the truth, it works all we have to do is love them,” says Jarret.

One of those young people was Sparkle Washington.

“Ms. Jarrett always believed in my family, always believed in the talent that we had and she put us in the studio for the first time,” says Washington.

Now Washington  takes the lessons Jarret taught and instills them into her students.

“If I appreciate the artsy side of them, when I have a get who hardly does math for me, who wouldn't want to do math for me, but I found out they play the drums and I went to go hear them play the drums, they were different for me behaviorally after that,” says Washington.

Jarrett says she's loved watching kids like sparkle grow up and become successful, some of them even bringing their kids to the YOC today.

She hopes what she started years ago will continue to be passed on for decades to come.

“Hopefully I’ve made the path a little clearer for you but the whole point is Ms. Jarrett has destiny, YOC is my destiny and you have a destiny, seek and fulfill it,” says Jarret.

And she says her destiny isn't through, she would love to one day make the y-o-c an accredited performing and visual arts neighborhood school.

The YOC is hosting a talent show to celebrate this milestone.

It starts tonight at 6:30 at the Washington-Jackson Auditorium

It'll cost two dollars to get get in and additional donations will be accepted.

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