This fall, the Youth Collaborative has partnered with the Davey Lopes Recreation Center, located in the Upper Southside neighborhood of Providence. We knew this partnership was the best way that we could more intentionally serve the teens and families who are most deeply affected by the everyday issues of the inner city. In addition to the outdoor facilities that provide a safe haven for urban youth, Davey Lopes also provides coaching and free boxing lessons to help transition these teenagers to mature manhood. The Davey Lopes staff have been very gracious and accommodating.
This past weekend during one of our youth discussion groups, we were reminded of the harsh realities for those who are stuck within the systems of urban decay. The 13th homicide in Providence this year occurred just the day before, and the victim was a well known resident of the Southside who lived directly across the street from the rec center. As the center has become a trusted gathering place and social hub for the local neighbors, many friends and family members of the victim congregated together to console and counsel one another. Some of the grieving were in deep frustration and in no mood to talk to strangers that day. It was another reminder to us of how vast the chasm is between those who are trapped by the streets, and the rest of us.