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Old North End block party celebrates youth education

By Sam Israel,


The Vermont Racial Justice Alliance held a block party in Burlington over the weekend to celebrate youth education in the community.

The party was held next to the Richard Kemp Center on N. Winooski Avenue, which had been blocked off for the occasion. The center provides mentoring and other services for young Black Vermonters.

“Many of us adults, we’re so divided in so many different ways,” says Mark Hughes, executive director of the Alliance. “But you start looking at the youth and how they support one another. There’s so much hope for us in our youth.”

The event coincided with the opening last week of a new after-school program at the Richard Kemp Center that provides homework and other educational support Monday through Thursday. Last week, the after-school program gave out free school supplies to kids in the community.

Resident Karla Kelley says she’ll take advantage of the program.

“I believe there’s no child left behind,” Kelley says “Because if they’re struggling in areas, why wait. You should take activism in yourself. Be your own child’s advocate. It’s important, if you see them lacking in some area, come on down, we can help you in any way possible and it’s important.”

The center plans to host chess club on Tuesdays, and every third Friday will sponsor activities for kids ike bowling and swimming.

“This is one of the highest risk neighborhoods in the entire state,” says Burlington community member Bruce Wilson. “Many homicides happen at [the] Old North End. We can’t have that.”

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