Ministry Saves City Community Centers
Memphis Athletic Ministries to Reopen Four Centers
Four community centers that almost shut down last year because of budget concerns received a lifeline. MemphisAthletic Ministries is stepping in and taking over the centers with the help of the city. The Greenlaw Community Center sits in the heart of the inner city as a haven for kids to play, have positive role models and feel safe. But this safety net, including a few other facilities, was on the city of Memphis’ chopping block. Last year former mayor Willie Herenton planned to close four centers and five libraries. His goal was to save taxpayers up to 2 million dollars.
James Armfield, President of Memphis Athletic Ministries, said “we heard that they were going to close we though lets go ahead and provide something we can give back to the kids, give them a place to go.” Armfield says he knows community centers are invaluable. His organization is faith based and benefits kids between 8 and 18. “We bring kids in, try to teach them about the right things to do in life, hopefully keep them on the straight and narrow.” Community centers often serve thousand of kids every year. Armfield says by keeping the doors open, he hopes more kids will avoid turning to the pressures of the streets and instead find refuge here. “We will operate some tutoring, free play, play a little ball, put them on teams… we are a faith based organization and will provide some faith based opportunities as well.” He says it’s an opportunity to remind kids there are places and people who can make a positive difference. “They can see some great men around, great women too. Hopefully they will in turn utilize some of the things we can provide for them hopefully that will make them have a better life.” Memphis Athletic Ministries will open Greenlaw Community Center by the end of October and the other three will open on November 1st.
TO SEE INTERVIEW WITH JAMES ARMFIELD, MAM PRESIDENT, click on this link: http://www.myfoxmemphis.com/dpp/news/local/091809_Memphis_Athletic_Ministries_to_Reopen_Four_Community_Centers