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Recreation program keeps kids focused

Dozens of children took over Metropolitan Baptist Church on a recent Monday evening.

Several of them were playing basketball on two courts outside, while others were jump-roping nearby. At a field on the other side of the church, a group of boys were playing flag football.

Several inside grouped around ping-pong, foosball and air hockey tables. Still others were using the computer lab upstairs.

All the children were participating in the Youth Summer Recreation program at the church. Held each Monday, Thursday and Friday throughout the summer, the program ends Aug. 20.

“We want to get the kids off the street and show them church is a place to have fun,” said the Rev. Moses Ware, youth pastor at the church. “When they’re on the streets, that’s when they find themselves in trouble.”

In addition to the daily activities, every Friday night is movie night, complete with popcorn. There also are occasional field trips. Besides the cost of field trips, the entire program is free to participants. Children who want to come only need to have a permission slip — obtainable at the church office — filled out and signed by a parent.

“I love coming here,” Anthony Turner, 15, said Monday. “It’s something to do, and it’s keeping people out of trouble.”

Trey Outlaw, 10, said he also enjoys coming to the program to “play football and basketball.”

The program opens and closes with prayer each night. The only requirement is that kids who come must stay for the entire two hours, from 6 to 8 p.m.

About 50 to 75 children come every night the program is open, Ware said. Snacks and drinks are provided. The entire program is paid for out of the church’s youth outreach budget, as well as donations from organizations.

For more information on the program, call 539-2696 between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The church is located at 125 County St.