05/04/04 — Youth Outreach program lost everything in fire

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Youth Outreach program lost everything in fire

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on May 4, 2004 2:01 PM

When the Memorial Community Building burned Saturday, a group that helped troubled youth lost all of its records, supplies and its home.

Daryl Woodard, executive director of Wayne County Youth Outreach, said the organization has set up a recovery fund at all RBC Centura Bank branches throughout the state so it may continue helping youths.

"Everything we had since the organization began in 1989, including all our records, is gone," said Woodard. He said Youth Outreach serves about 350 youths in Wayne and Wilson counties and was headquartered in the Community Building.

The organization works with youths to help keep them in a safe environment through the Governor's One-on-One Program, Save Our Children program, Phenomenal Girls program and various after-school programs.

When it was initially founded, Youth Outreach worked with youths in Wayne County, then expanded its services to Wilson County. It also works with churches and other faith organizations. It has had a youth gospel festival for the past 13 years.

It also operated a clothes closet for needy families. For those youths who had no access to the Internet, Youth Outreach had computers at its office for them to use for school projects.

"Besides keeping youths in a safe environment, the organization also saves taxpayers money," Woodard said. "It costs $50,000 a year to keep a youth in training school and only $1,500 for him to be in our program. There's no comparison."

Youth Outreach has been recognized at the local, state and federal levels for providing activities such as after-school programs and mentor services. In 1994 it received the Gould-Wysinger Award from the United States Department of Justice.

"In addition to records, we lost our computers, files, chairs, office supplies and program supplies," Woodard said. "We also had various memorabilia at the office that was destroyed along with all our equipment."

Woodard said Wayne County Youth Outreach is "starting all over."

He said that since the fire, people have come up to him and asked how they could help.

The organization is taking monetary donations to buy supplies and equipment. But the biggest thing it needs is office space. And it needs all kinds of outdoor sports equipment, desks for the youths and computers.

"We will also need extra volunteers to help us get information from the mentors and the youths and their families to set up new files," said Woodard.

Besides using the Community Building as a headquarters, Youth Outreach also had programs for its clients at the pool room there and the youths used the center's game room.

To donate to the Wayne County Youth Outreach Recovery Fund, people may go to any RBC Centura branch or send checks to the organization at P.O. Box 1202, Goldsboro, N.C. 27533.

For more information, contact Woodard at 738-5558.