Programs get more than $760K to help keep youth out of trouble in Mecklenburg County

Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to allocate hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight the rise in crime by young people through the Juvenile Funding Allocation Plan.

[PAST COVERAGE: Juvenile shot in northwest Charlotte, taken to hospital, CMPD says]

TreSports, is one of the programs, which reaches out to young people to empower them through sports.

“What we give them here, is we give them stability, and they’re getting structure,” said Robert Reynolds, who founded TreSports in 2004.

The juvenile court system refers kids to the after-school program to get them on track.

“Some of them make bad decisions and different choices,” Reynolds said. “Making a mistake, because of peer pressure and social media and try to uphold their reputation.”

TreSports teaches things such as anger management, homework and organized sports after school, when kids are more likely to get into trouble.

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Reynolds said he has noticed a surge in violence in the last year or so.

“Crime has gone up,” he said. “Gun violence has gone up extremely.”

TreSports could only operate three days a week because of funding cuts during the pandemic.

The program is set to receive $244,000 from the Juvenile Funding Allocation Plan, which is enough to get it running five days a week.

Reynolds said that is an important step.

“Where there is an idle mind, that’s the devil’s workshop,” he said.

Two other programs will get funding from the allocation plan:

  • CMPD Youth Diversion Program: $216,000

  • Transforming Youth Movement: $302,000 restitution and community service

The Mecklenburg County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council is awarding a total of more than $2 million to area organizations.

[ALSO READ: Mecklenburg County awarding millions to local groups helping prevent youth crime]

Crime reporter Glenn Counts speaks with teens at TreSports

(Watch the video above for reporter Glenn Count’s report)

“I’ve been in and out of juvie,” said Jermiah Wheeler, who is in the program at TreSports. “And I just got home and wanted to do the right thing.”

The 14-year-old teen has been at TreSports since February.

“It took so many times for me to realize that I’m wasting time out of my life when I could be doing something productive,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler said he used to not listen to his mom.

“Like, I really didn’t care what she had to say,” he said. “Then I got here and it was, like, they are telling me stuff, stuff they went through. How they had to do stuff to their kids to get them on the straight path. So I don’t want my momma to have to go through all that.”

Nashawn Rakestraw, 16, said he’s changing his life and thinking about attending Winston-Salem State University.

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“When I first came, I didn’t think, like, ‘It would change me,'” Rakestraw said. “I didn’t think it would be anything different. But me coming here, it’s shaping me up.”

Rakestraw said the program helps with family life and checking in on him.

(Watch the video below: Mecklenburg County awarding millions to local groups helping prevent youth crime)

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