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YEA program has impact

If anyone saw youngsters playing at the 9th Street Playground Thursday, they probably saw them playing basketball or participating in other activities.

But there was a lot more than that going on.

The Youth Empowerment Activities is a program sponsored by the Family Guidance Center, Lawrence County Juvenile Court and the Appalachian Family and Children First Council.

“This provides a safe environment for kids to participate in some fun activities, something fun to do in the summertime,” said Joyce Lynd, a juvenile court representative.

But mixed in with all the fun are life lessons and positive reinforcement about good behavior. The children were taught about good sportsmanship and how to handle themselves.

About 15 young adults are paid to work as youth mentors over the summer and many adults serve as volunteers for the program.

“I like working with kids and I love giving them the same experiences I had when I was their age,” said Grace Seward, one of the program’s youth mentors. “I think we get back from them more than they get from us. It makes me feel good to know I’ve helped someone else.”

Any program that invests in a community’s youth is money and time well spent.

The organizers, mentors and volunteers of the YEA should be congratulated for a program that has a tangible impact.