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    CityYouth a destination for youth when school ends
    cityyouth-a-destination-for-youth-when-school-ends

    May 2, 2024

    Your Community Radio Station is possible thanks to this supporter!  Become an underwriter.

    Local ministry provides a variety programs for disadvantaged children

    Delta Digital News Service

    Thursday, May 2, 2024

    By Amelia Young | Contributor

    JONESBORO, Ark.- With only a few programs similar to it in the state of Arkansas, CityYouth Ministries plays an important role in the Jonesboro community and in the lives of the children who attend.

    Located just inside downtown Jonesboro, CityYouth Ministries, is an after-school program for underprivileged children in first through sixth grade in surrounding school districts, with the hope to soon open their doors to the kindergarten center. Through various grants, partnerships from local churches, individual donations, and more, the program is able to be offered to the children and their families at no cost, which is unlike most other programs in Northeast Arkansas as they require families to pay to attend.

    From left to right: Brooklyn Givans seven-years-old (first grade) and Ca’Linda Mucherson seven-years-old (first grade) paint some pictures for the upcoming Art With Heart Fundraiser (April 11th) Photo By Shamara Pittman

    Though CityYouth is an after-school program they are also a ministry, which means Jesus is at the center of everything they do. Although many in the community may think it, CityYouth is not just a community center. It’s a place where the kids are exposed daily and possibly introduced to the Gospel.

    “One of my favorite things about working at CityYouth is the worship and devotion time. A lot of these kids just haven’t heard the gospel, so it’s great to see them doing that every day,” Kelsie Harris, administrative assistant said.

    While at the program the kids participate in a multitude of different academic and extracurricular activities including tutoring, speech therapy, yoga, arts and crafts, outside play, worship, and many more.

    “My favorite thing is art because we get to make stuff… my favorite thing was the penguin we made at Christmas,” Karter King, an eight-year-old second grader, said.

    The activities are chosen based on what season it is, when the weather is warmer the kids play tennis but once it gets colder they switch to a more appropriate activity.

    Kelsie Harris

    “My favorite thing to do at CityYouth is to go outside, I like to talk to all of my friends,” A’miyah McCauley, an 11-year-old sixth grader, said.

    No two days look the exact same, but one thing that stays consistent is the worship and deviation time at the beginning of each day. Every day, all the kids arrive by 3:30 p.m. and they immediately have dinner. Once dinner is finished everyone, group leaders included, sing two to three worship songs, then grades split off to do a small devotional lesson. At 5:30 p.m. all the kids are picked up and group leaders clean up and get ready to do it all again the next day.

    One of CityYouths biggest supporters is the community. It takes about $30,000 a month to keep CityYouth up and running and they’re able to continue their ministry through the abundant community support. Not only do different community members and organizations donate money so the program is free for the children, but they also donate their time and items CityYouth might need including Lysol wipes, toilet paper, band-aids, hand soap, etc.

    Hannah Caddy

    “The community is our backbone, we’re so thankful to have a community that rallies together, ” Hannah Caddy, Executive Director of CityYouth, said.

    Some local businesses also donate meals for the kids. Once a week Lost Pizza Co. donates multiple cheese and pepperoni pizzas and a salad for dinner. Every Thursday, since October 2023 each kid, who signs up, gets to take home a drawstring bag full of food donated and packaged  by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and every Thursday before the bags arrive at CityYouth at least one kid asks “do we get a green bag today?”

    “The food is purchased by sorority members or donated to the sorority by community partners, and then members of the sorority pack the bags on the weekends,” Tiffany Mosley, co-chair of the Empower our Families initiative at the sorority, said.

    CityYouth began from an idea between several church and community leaders that believed Jonesboro could benefit from having a youth center. Since opening their doors in 1999 CityYouth has been able to impact not only the 95 kids on the roster today, but the thousands of kids who have attended in the past 25 years.

    -30-





    NOTE: Feature Photo: From left to right: Makaylee Brisco-Ellis, 7, (first grade), Audree McCray, 7, (first grade), Brooklyn Siggers, 6, (first grade), and Judah Mhoon, 7, (first grade) eating Chick-Fil-A donated by Centennial Bank.  Photo by Ashtyn Kimble

    Read more:
    CityYouth a destination for youth when school ends. Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council

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