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People Who Care makes a difference

Juliana D. Norwood | 7/28/2010, 5 p.m.

People Who Care Youth Center Inc. (PWC) is a non-profit organization that provides youth ages 10 to 17 with services such as counseling, and tutoring in the hopes of making a positive difference in the community.

PWC has been diligently working towards this goal since it was founded in 1974 by a group of residents concerned with the lack of positive outlets for youth in the community.

PWC provides an urban haven where young people have the opportunity to receive assistance while simultaneously enjoying positive recreational activities such as swimming, yoga, basketball and much more.

The organization originally generated its funding through small donations, bake and yard sales, and radio promotions and has continued to rely on contributions from concerned individuals and groups who share their vision for improving the lives of inner-city youth.

The Youth Services program through PWC provides first-offender youth, and youth on probation with individual, family and group counseling, and allows them to do community service-graffiti removal on public and private properties located in the 8th Council District, while their parents receive parenting education.

Through the Family Revitalization project, vital in-home services are provided to families who have children from birth to five years of age, in order to prevent child abuse and neglect.

Other aspects of the organization provide at-risk youth with counseling, academic enrichment, conflict resolution workshops, computer training, employment readiness and life skills development in an after-school program.

Parents are trained in strategies that assist them with raising competent and achieving children by incorporating cultural values that aid in the development of pride in a child's heritage and de-emphasize corporal punishment as a behavior management tool. A strong communication component also serves to facilitate greater understanding between family members and reduce incidents of violence in the home and the community.

"I have been a counselor since '93. It's like my home. I am a clinical psychologist, and I do a lot of family therapy. I also run a male mentoring program at PWC. Basically, I wanted to help minorities--Black people. We are not enslaved by shackles anymore, but we are enslaved because of the way we are disenfranchised," said Acting Executive Director, Keith Reynolds.

PWC also has a learning program that continues its invaluable services through the summer and currently has 65 youth enrolled in the nine-week program which focuses heavily on tutoring and mentoring.

More than 50 percent of the students who attend the program at a minimum of two days a week, saw increases in their reading skills by at least one year, and negative behavior such as tagging, gang involvement and violence in the youth showed a decrease.

People Who Care have been providing invaluable services to youth and their parents for more than 30 years. Go to www.pwcyc.org/support to see how you can help.