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Church opens youth outreach program near Sherman Park

One key component to the rebuilding of the Sherman Park area has been the faith community.

Parklawn Assembly Church of God recently started a youth outreach program to point at-risk kids in a positive direction. Church leaders say the program is working.

The pastor says he's seen kids make a complete turnaround after coming here and connecting with new friends and mentors. He says some of them have had problems with drugs and violence and just need some positivity in their life to turn it all around,

This is more than just a game of hoops for Jalen Ralls Franklin, “I just try to encourage them.” He hangs out with younger kids at Parklawn Assembly Church of God as part of their youth evolution program, “I want to give back to the youth here the same thing the leaders gave to me which is a sense of purpose.”

The outreach program was founded by Pastor Jay English and his wife Sonia who said, “Well we just kind of had a vision to reach out to the community and we wanted to make a safe place for the kids here in Milwaukee.”

“I’ve met with and worked with a lot of at risk youth that have gone through all sorts of ridiculousness at their home,” said Pastor Jay English.

Parklawn Assembly is just blocks from Sherman Park where fires and looting one year ago made for a dangerous place. After that, church leaders said they knew they had to do something to put kids on better path, “I think every kid can be one and I think the worst of the worst ones, if you give them consistency and give them the love and put them in consistency and make sure that the city doesn't get to them, cause there's things in this city that could pull them out.”

Kids like Rion Davis come not just to shoot hopes but to watch his friends play pool and perform music, “I like that it invites the community but also that I can have a good time while we play.”

Ahead of the new school year Pastor Jay English tells me he hopes to see even more kids come out and participate on Wednesday nights.

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