INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- It’s one of the most dangerous and poverty-stricken areas here in central Indiana.
Now, the children of one area on Indianapolis’ east side will have a safe place to turn to, thanks to some very generous donors.
A brand new Boys & Girls Club of Indianapolis facility is opening at 28th and Post Road. It’s the first new club for the local organization in 23 years, and this particular area is one Indianapolis Metropolitan police are watching closely.
“There’s a lot of poverty, drug trafficking, violence,” said Assistant Chief James Waters.
Waters said some of those crimes are committed by children.
“They’re much too young,” said Waters. “We have 12-year-olds with handguns.”
With several donations, including a $1.5 million dollar gift from Finish Line, this neighborhood is getting a safe place for its children.
“Our goal when they are the age of 18 and leave the club, they are responsible citizens,” said Executive Director Rick Whitten.
For $15 a year, parents can enroll their child for the after-school programs. At this new location, kids and teens can play pool, do homework in the computer lab, read a new book or even play basketball in a newly constructed gym.
“We want to give them a way to change their circumstances,” said Whitten. “Most of our kids are really poor.”
IMPD also hopes the new Boys & Girls Club changes the way this area of Indianapolis views police.
“To become a familiar face with these kids,” said Waters. “So they can build relationships with police officers.”
Community Health Network is also providing a mental health counselor and nurse practitioner on site to tend to any children that come through the door. There is an open house Saturday April 30, from 11 a.m. 2 p.m. You can learn more about volunteering or enrolling your own child.