JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - With both swimming pools closed in Jonesboro right now, and the YMCA summer program no longer available, City Youth Ministries summer program is nearly at full capacity. They could use a little help.
It was lunch time and every participant was in the gym. In the kitchen the cooks and cooks helpers were wrapping up hot dogs and stuffing them into sacks for the hungry kids.
Anthony McMath who coordinates the transportation at City Youth says kids don't have enough places to go this summer.
"They rely on places like City Youth to come and unfortunately we can't accommodate everybody so we need help in that area." McMath said.
With over 300 youth registered, the organizations 4 vans are having to make 2 or 3 trips to pick up all the kids.
Amanda Muir dropped off her son Chance, this is his first time to take part in the program. Muir says this is a great program only for him, but also for her.
Muir, "I go to school and I work too and it gives me my own time to myself while he's here. But it's good for him I think." Muir said it is also amazing how many bible verses Chance has learned from the Christian-based program.
A lot of supervision is required with this many kids. Annie Ford says they are always on the lookout for volunteers. "That have a good heart and want to pitch in and do what ever we need them to do.Ford says.
Also teens play a very important role. Looking around the room I could see many kids in white T-shirts. Those kids are the youth volunteers. Stephanie Stevenson was a participant when she was younger. She says she's now paying back.
Stevenson, "God has given me a lot of blessings so as I receive my blessings I want to try and rub off my blessings on other children and be a leader to them."
Parents are also welcomed to volunteer. Kimberly Muir, Amanda's sister, says she will be volunteering next week.
"I love kids, I love working with kids. I've got 2 of my own and they need help and I'm willing to help."
Ford says helping out with the 8 week session is a great opportunity for the community to get involved.
Ford, "If people can not come individually if business and corporations can allow their employees time off to come that would be a great way for the corporations to give to the community."
There are two sessions. The one for kids starts around 10 and lasts till 2. Then there is a break and a session for teens begins at 4 and lasts till 8.
City Youth has lots of activities over the course of the day both in house and out.
McMath, "We take them out of the building every day. We do field trips, 4-H activities an because there are so many kids we take them over to the Presbyterian church to use it's facility as well."
But what they can't do is go swimming. Both the Earl Bell and city pools are closed. According to Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin; Earl Bell will not open at all this year due to it's deteriorated condition and the city pool at the old YMCA is being remodeled and should be open late this month or early July. So right now they are having to make do if they want to get wet.
McMath says "Allen Park has a water facility and Craighead forest has a water facility so we will be trying to utilize those."
Stephanie Stevenson says as far as volunteers go, the more the better.
"As more volunteers come in the more kids have someone to look up to and that would be a great thing."
There is no charge for this summer program.
For information you can call City Youth at 870-932-9398 or click on the link with this story.