Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: Streets Ministries - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Joe Birch

Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: Streets Ministries

The zip code with the highest-crime and the lowest income in Memphis has one thing that might be the envy of wealthy communities.

It has world-class after-school program in Streets Ministries.

Streets Ministries operates out of a new building on Vance Avenue near Danny Thomas Boulevard.
 
"There's so much crime that goes on in this neighborhood, this is a safe haven for our kids. They can sit here, let their hair down, don't have to worry about crime that happens in the neighborhood," Kevin Cox of Streets Ministries said. 

Cox, Streets recreation coordinator, welcomes as many as 175 youngsters with all kinds of after-school activities.

"I'm a product of this community and to be able to give back means a lot to me," Cox said.

There is ping-pong, foosball, six basketball goals on two full size basketball courts and of course, video games where four kids share each screen. It is all designed to give the Streets staff an opportunity to build relationships with young people like Aubrey:

"Most of the kids in this neighborhood don't have video games to play. It's also a place to get the Word, get the Word of God," Aubrey Phillips said.

The ministry offers Bible studies appropriate for each age group. Crystal Neal serves elementary age students.
  
"We present God's Word in a creative way and a fun way other than just saying here's the Bible and this is what it says. We present it through skits, songs, dances arts and crafts," Neal said.

There is a homework lab, college prep, and tutoring for kids struggling in any academic area.
 
"To see a smile on a kid's face or a change in their life means the world to me," Cox said.

They are taking back one of Memphis' toughest neighborhood one youngster at a time:
 
"I've got kids now that I've actually dealt with in the past. To see them actually be productive citizens in our city means the world to me," Cox said.


Click here to e-mail Joe Birch.

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