BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Now that school is out, a group of children are spending two evenings a week during their summer at Buffalo HEAT.
“Health, empowerment, attitude and teamwork. Those are principles that we teach the youth who are gathered here,” President and CEO of Back-to-Basics Outreach Ministries Pastor James Giles said.
The program meets twice a week for three hours a night. Activities include circles to encourage healthy conversation and keep troubled youth on the right path. Principal facilitator Dayna Overton-Burns says it’s important that the kids feel respected.
“Though I’m a facilitator, I’m not in charge, I’m at the same level as everyone else as a participant,” Overton-Burns said.
“Designed to keep you from entering into the arena that they want to fight people, that they want to hurt people,” Giles said.
Youth coordinator John Smith says it’s about more than just telling the kids what to do.
“Just saying I don’t want them to go where i went to, nah, we are trying to change the whole direction by being the example,” Smith said.
Aside from starting conversation, they also teach the youth lessons through activities such as basketball and gardening. Overton-burns says she has already seen its impact.
“They’re all coming out of their shell; they’re beginning to trust, and they all have their special talents and gifts,” Overton-Burns said.
If you or anyone you know is interested in joining the program, you can contact Pastor Giles at 716-854-1086. Participants must be between ages of 14 and 19.
“Just being here and we know where they are, their parents know where they are, that matters, so, it’s not enough time in the day to spend with them,” Smith said.