Though Greenwood may be lacking in recreational centers for children and families, such as a movie theater or bowling alley, it certainly isn’t lacking in people who are seeking to address the issue.

Both motivated and concerned about this problem, some residents have taken it upon themselves to provide some fun.

A recent example of these are the husband-and-wife duo Earnest and Debra Adams, who are working on opening the Greenwood Community Center at 709 Ave. I.

The couple hopes to have it open by the end of this month. The Adamses intend the center to be a resource for children and adults alike, with youth development classes, entrepreneurship classes and other activities provided.

Though the work to revamp the center’s two buildings isn’t yet finished, as more interior work  needs to be done, Debra Adams said the Community Center is holding a summer camp at the Baptist Town Community Center. The camp began earlier this month and will end in early August.

The Community Center is a nonprofit, relying on donations and grant money to fund its operations.

The Adamses aren’t the only citizens in town committed to providing activities for the kids.

Larry “Kite” Johnson, who runs the Greenwood Community and  Recreation Center on Elm Street, is happy about the new center.

“The more, the merrier,” Johnson said of organizations that host activities for kids. “We need something on every block, every corner.”

Johnson’s center provides an open gym for youth for a $1 entrance fee. And, thanks to a  Families First for Mississippi grant, it offers a mentoring program for boys ages 10-15, where they listen to motivational speakers, go on field trips and play basketball.

“When there’s so much idle time in the communities, we need more places, more positive places where kids can go,” Johnson said. “This is all for the better. This is about saving lives.”

Like Johnson, Walter Hurt and Marcellus Gray are also working to improve children’s welfare.

Hurt, who runs a pool hall on Walthall Street, created the group Kids Lives Matter earlier this year. The group held an Easter egg hunt at Sam Leach Park.

“I didn’t know it was going to be that big,” Hurt said of the large group of children coming to the park for a day of fun in April. “They loved it. They’re telling me to do more.”

He has another event in the works, Sunday Funday, planned for late July, also at Sam Leach Park.  Hurt said there’ll be water guns and water balloons, along with music, food and other games.

When asked about the Community Center, Hurt said, “I think we need more than that. We don’t need a place; we need people. ... I wish more people would get involved so we could get more done.”

This coming Sunday, Gray, who cuts hair and details cars for a living, intends to host a kids-themed event at Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial Park on Martin Luther King  Drive, beginning at 2 p.m.

Gray had said preventing violence in town may be hard to do, but providing opportunities for kids can give them a sense of relief.

Johnson said children have no reason to complain about the lack of opportunities.

The existence of several organizations that provide activities, such as the Boys & Girls Club and the Greenwood Mentoring Group, means “it gives our children no excuse to say there’s nothing to do,” Johnson said.

Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or gedic@gwcommonwealth.com.

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