Volunteers work to renovate boys and girls club in southwest Little Rock, hoping to curb violence in area

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark – A violent year in Little Rock is proving to be a wake-up call for many in the southwest community.

A group connected to Victory Over Violence is working to revitalize the Whetston Boys and Girls Club. Their hope is the renovation will help curb the violence by getting more kids in the door.

“We need to really be pouring into these kids as they’re young and let them know that mom and dad aren’t the only ones that care,” said volunteer Michael Blasingame.

Neighbors in southwest Little Rock say over the years the community lost its shine.

“There is a lot of violence over here in this area,” said Laura Castillo who lives in the neighborhood.

Project group leaders say in the last year or so nearly 20 homicides were reported in the neighborhood. Five of those occurred in the last month.

“It’s just a continual battle,” said Blasingame.

Thursday evening, Laura Castillo sat in a room full of other neighbors who will be working to bring the Whetstone Boys and Girls Club back to life.

“Back in the day, the boys and girls club was pretty active as far as sports, arts and crafts, and activities,” said Willy Larry with the Whetstone Boys and Girls Club.

The group of volunteers say their hope is that with a little work and a lot of love the space will let kids be kids again.

“We just have to take our focus off the negative, focus on the positive and just come together,” said Blasingame.

The group will begin work on the center Saturday, December 11.

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