Preparing Children to Succeed

All this week, we've been taking a look at the faces of those who benefit from the United Way. Without their financial help, and your contributions their programs may not even exist. Close to 7,600 area youths and children are enrolled in after school programs that promote good behavior and encourage them to avoid high-risk behavior.

One of those places, Amarillo's North YMCA branch. And who, without the United Way's financial help, would go without the essentials a child needs like a safe place to go after school, a healthy meal, and encouragement. Things North YMCA branch Executive Director Myron Sims says many go without on a daily basis.

" They have a place to come too and once they get here we have to provide activities for them and we also have meet basic needs while they're here, they have to feel safe, they have to feel wanted, they have to feel like there is somebody here who cares they have to feel like they can excel at some things here ," said Myron Sims.

It's because of the United Way the North YMCA is able to provide those basic needs through 2 programs for kids ages 10 through 17.

"Within those 2 programs, they do photography and creative writing and those are also included in preparing children to succeed and of course, we run sports programs out of this Y too," said Sims.

The programs are designed to help keep those kids out of trouble and give them the stepping stones to succeed in life.

"I would hate to think what would happen to them i would that another agency would step up and step in but resources and transportation and having the space for the number of kids that we serve and the number of kids that need to be served those resources are kind of scare in this zip code ," said Sims.

But the United Way is only able to give financial support through your contributions.

" We depend a lot on the United Way and so we appreciate everybody who has a part in giving to the United Way," said Sims.

Sims says it's been proven that after school programs like those at the Y have had a 99% success rate of keeping those kids out of the juvenile delinquent system. And stresses that without area youth programs, that success rate would be much lower.