WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Southside Youth Senter helps students of all backgrounds, cultures, and gender develop self-esteem, discipline, and respect for their community.
They do this through the after-school, holiday, and summer programs, but after seeing a significant drop in the funds needed to keep these programs going due to the pandemic, these helpers now need your help.
Phillip Avery and Latijera Turner said some of the reasons they send their children to Southside Youth Senter is because of the mission.
The center provides a safe, supervised setting where youth and children can develop character and social skills in an educational yet fun environment.
“My children love coming here, they are excited, this is like their second home and that is a good feeling to know when I am at work they are taken care of,” Turner said. “I never think about it twice that they are not safe.”
“My oldest, especially growing up as any child is, they’re shy, they don’t want to venture out and try different things so it was good to see him branch out and try different activities and meet new kids and have new friends,” Avery said.
Activities such as homework assistance, cooking, music, arts and crafts, science and so much more.
However 2020 was a low year for the center for enrollment and finances.
“We currently have 68 kids on enrollment, we are licensed to have 80 in this building at any given time,” Preston said. “Our lowest enrollment was last year when we under the emergency orders given by Texas child care licensing which was staffing at one to ten, we had 30 kids.”
Over the course of the pandemic, Southside Youth Senter officials said they’ve seen a 75% decrease in income that is monumental in keeping working toward a better tomorrow.
Before COVID we were operating at around $236,000 a year, if the kids said they we want to take this field trip we were able to say sure no problem if parents couldn’t afford it we could pay for it, now we are lucky to see $85 to $90,000 come through,” Preston said.
Turner said Southside Youth Senter goes above and beyond and deserves whatever help the community can give.
“I’ve got a child that has a visual impairment, she’s got some cognitive delays but they cater to her needs,” Turner said. “You don’t get that everywhere, most places they shun that away they don’t wanna take that extra step to take care of a child that needs you more, and this facility has never had a problem with that.”
And Avery, who has been relying on the services of the center for ten years agrees.
“You can donate to help out specific children or to help out what you know is gonna be the future of Wichita Falls,” Avery said.
Avery, Turner and Preston hope community members will lend a hand in sustaining this nonprofit.
To donate to Southside Youth Senter, follow this link, in the comments section put “donations”.