Leveling Up for the Future
Beverlee Sanders
Level Up Program

The YMCA, in partnership with the City of Charlotte, is providing a positive outlet for at-risk youth

Narrator  00:00
With basketball, skating, art and some good food, the Keith Family YMCA is pretty busy on a Saturday night.

Joyce Tompkins  00:07
I'm saying, it's kind of like club YMCA.

Narrator  00:09
It's all part of the city's Level Up program. As part of the City of Charlotte's Corridors of Opportunity program, the city teamed up with CMPD and six area YMCA is to create a safe space for teens.

Joyce Tompkins  00:21
We had some conversation with the CMPD on looking at data around the city of where teens were committing the highest amount of crimes. And we noticed there were YMCAs in those exact areas where the percentages were the highest. So we partnered with CMPD to say, Let's offer these youth an alternative place to be have a safe opportunity to hang out with their friends that we can control the environment. And it's been working and going strong ever since

Narrator  00:46
Lisa Wright's daughter, Monique, was a little nervous about Level Up.

Lisa Wright  00:50
I know, Monique would not get out of the car at first.

Narrator  00:54
But after their first visit, they met the amazing staff.

Lisa Wright  00:57
But what did she do? She told you it was what?

Monique Jet  01:00

Lisa Wright  01:00
She's very nice to Monique. And she told you you were gonna be...

Monique Jet  01:05

Lisa Wright  01:06
It just gave me a really good feeling about you know, it was okay to leave her here.

Narrator  01:10
Monique kept visiting and now she's done...

Monique Jet  01:13
Swimming, basketball, skating, and game room and paint.

Lisa Wright  01:21
Because of The Y, she plays adaptive basketball now. And she asks me all the time, when are we gonna play basketballagain.

Joyce Tompkins  01:32
And what I love about that is we get teams from all all walks of life that come in here. Kids just want to get out and be able to hang out with their friends and not have an agenda all the time. And these teen nights give them that.

Narrator  01:44
For Monique, that's the best part.

Monique Jet  01:47
I just want to go and hang with my friends. All of them are nice.

Lisa Wright  01:53
Everyone was nice, Monique.

Narrator  01:55
The Level Up program is free and open to teens ages 13 to 18 at these six YMCA locations. For more information on corridor programs and initiatives, visit CLT gov.me/corridors.