‘It’s about saving our children’: activists open community center for children near downtown Durham
DURHAM, NC (WNCN) – Teen violence in Durham is on the rise and on Friday afternoon the community came together to bring change with the opening of a community center at Calvert Place Apartments, near the Durham city center.
Community activist Sheryl Smith launched the initiative in October after seeing an increase in gun violence in Durham’s Golden Belt neighborhood.
Over the past month, within the 1 mile radius of the community center at the intersection of Main Street and Angier Street, several crimes have been committed including assault, theft and even homicide.
Smith was able to get in touch with the owner of the Calvert Place apartments and they allowed Smith to rent space for the community center for free.
After months of planning, on Friday they held their grand opening with a special bike gift, food, and a barber gave the kids free haircuts.
The community center will provide a place for children who live in the Calvert Place and Franklin Village apartments to play games, do their homework and enjoy other activities.
Smith said this program is important in helping to keep street children on a positive path.
“Just look at this, it shows that if we come together it can be good and we can save our babies. That’s what it’s about. It’s about saving our children and creating a safe haven, ”Smith said. “I’m so emotional trying to keep my nerves together. It’s awesome.
Smith said the community center will be open every day in December and a schedule of activities will be established soon.
Smith also plans to open a second community center next year.