After school program gets face lift

April 21, 2009 4:25:02 AM PDT
Fayetteville's Junior League knows something about extreme makeovers.The women have just renovated a new Find-A-Friend library and work and study area in one weekend.

Fayetteville Mayor Tony Chavonne and other dignitaries helped celebrate the Junior League's extreme makeover project on Monday.

"It was challenging not only with the age of the building, but just little things we found as we went along, but it was so rewarding," said Tonita Perry with the Junior Service League.

Find-A-Friend is a program that has been around since the early 1980s.

Find-A-Friend Director Johnnie Wilson says they work with up to 250 kids a year.

"We serve at risk youth and kids who need strengthening academically," Wilson said. "Right now we have an 84 percent success rate that includes kids raising their self esteem their behavior and raising their academics."

Find-a-Friend workers say it is one of the most comprehensive and largest programs of its kind in the state. They have big fleet of buses to pick up students and take them to events. Workers say that's why it is more than just an after school program.

Jaesean Sanders, 7, says he is doing better in school thanks to the program.

"They help me, they help me with my homework and my discipline," Sanders said.

Workers say the real payoff is seen in the lives of young students like 9-year-old Alexis Kincaid.

"They help you with homework too and improve your self esteem and self confidence," Kincaid said.

Funding for the program comes from the state. Even in the tight financial times, Senator Tony Rand thinks the governor will find money for the program in next year's budget.

"I mean when you come in and see what's going on I don't know how anybody could let something like this get away because it is so important," Rand said.

And workers say that's the secret to their success.


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