New Programs Help Reduce Crime in Dover Neighborhood
DOVER, Del.- Crime in one part of Kent County is down. In fact, it's at zero. That is according to those who work at a Dover area Boys and Girls Club.
"We have literally been able to reduce the number of juvenile-related incidents in the Simon Circle community," said Harold Burnett, project director for the center.
Burnett said the club applied for and received a grant called the Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant. The grant was to help workers reduce the abuse and misuse of underage drinking.
"We knew that was a huge problem nationwide. We thought we could use this funding for some cool programming as it pertains to teenagers," Burnett said.
Burnett said mentors at the Boys and Girls Club are helping troubled teens through a partnership with Parkway and Kent County Alternative schools.
John Hampton teaches teens at Parkway Academy in Dover.
"I almost got fired, first job I ever had because I went to work drunk at 17, laughing, thought it was funny," said Hampton as he explained his troubles with alcohol more than 20 years ago to students at Parkway.
Hampton was teaching students about the dangers of abusing alcohol.
"it's an example to show you what not to do. The one thing I keep telling you guys is that the adults in your life aren't here to try to stop you from having fun and living your life. The goal is for you guys to be able to have fun and have success," said Hampton.
Hampton also mentors kids at the Boys and Girls Club.
Thirteen-year old Teondra Bolden is one of his mentees.
"(The Boys and Girls Club) helps me by doing things like being active, not getting into trouble and doing dumb stuff like that," Teondra said.
Burnett says the club offers teens the chance to play basketball, video and board games and lots more.
"The excuse of saying there's nothing to do is long gone.You can come to the Boys and Girls Club and have an awesome time at no charge," said Burnett.
The club is open evenings Tuesdays through Fridays. Fridays are normally reserved for field trips.
Burnett said he has even taken teens on field trips to tour the jail.
"We took teenagers over there and said these are the consequences if you decide to get involved in these behaviors. Jail is an option. You won't be able to be successful or fulfill some of the goals and ambitions you have in life. This is real," said Burnett.
Those who live in the Simon Circle neighborhood are excited about the new Boys and Girls Club programs.
"Every Friday night, you could see the cars coming. You see the young guys going in and they're having a good time. There's no fights, no nothing," said Joy Harris of Dover.
Teondra said club activities and mentors like Hampton are helping him plan for his future.
"I want to be an entrepreneur for like restaurants and stuff. I've been telling my mom and my dad. They're excited," she said.
For Teondra, and other teens who attend the Boys and Girls Club, the sky is the limit.