YCC a major loss for our children
When the Jeff Davis Parish (JDP) Youth Community Center (YCC) opened on the former James Ward Elementary campus in 2010, it was a promising project that brought the entire City of Jennings together. Our community has long discussed having positive, safe, productive activities for youth; the YCC did just that.
Kids were able to get free help with homework; play games and enjoy art projects; and join sports teams. On Saturdays, when the kids would play basketball, the community would pack the house. Businesses, citizens and churches gave time, money and talents to support the YCC and help it grow. The JDP School Board supported the program by offering the former James Ward facility and handling maintenance.
In Wednesday’s edition of the Jennings Daily News, we reported that the School Board had announced the program was discontinued. The board is now considering taking appraisals on the old elementary school.
Did the community, YCC volunteers or School Board give up? No. Taxpayers’ dollars and private donations simply could not keep up with the damage some senseless people inflicted on the program.
Copper wire thefts are commonplace now since the wire is worth a lot of money. Thoughtless members of the community continued breaking into the YCC buildings, stealing copper, leaving live wires exposed and causing damage, leaving repair bills for the School Board and YCC to pay. Good people kept working to fix the problem but criminals kept returning.
Thanks to such selfishness, hundreds of kids who once spent valuable time at the center are now looking for something else to do.
There is no excuse for stealing. It’s even worse, though, that some chose to steal from this program, effectively stealing from kids. How self-absorbed is a person to target a youth program to make a quick buck? Good paying jobs might be hard to find but plenty of jobs are available in JDP. Are these people too lazy to make an honest living, even if it’s not an extravagant one? Or were these people stealing to support yet another illegal aspect of their lives?
Whatever the answer, there is no excuse, and they should be ashamed for what they have taken from our children.
Maybe one day the YCC can return or a different youth program will be formed in this community. When and if that does happen, let’s hope the people who damaged the former program are behind bars.
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