Group uses $100K grant to employ, support at risk teens on near east side

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A group of change makers are making a difference on the near east side of Indianapolis. The Brookside Community Development Corporation received a $100,000 grant to go toward their work with youth in the community. CBS4 was there as they unveiled a new space they hope will bring support to at risk teens.

Brookside is known as one of the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods but community leaders are working to change that statistic by empowering the next generation.

“I walked in I was like completely shocked like I didn’t know it was going to look like this. Not how I expected,” student Aaron Reid said.

The new space was dedicated to teens who are part of the Education and Employment Academy through Brookside Community Play.

Impact 100 of Greater Indianapolis awarded the group the $100,000 grant. The women’s giving circle gives the grant to local change makers for every 100 women who join their organization. This year, Brookside was a clear winner.

“So they gave us the facts but also they gave us the emotion, the passion that convinces our members because it’s only our members who vote on the applications,” President Terry Mumford said.

The money allowed the program to expand to middle and high school students.

“We’re actually able to hire these kids on to serve as the mentors in our after school program for elementary kids. So our teenagers are getting employment experience and then our younger kids are seeing the teens in our community as role models,” Director Andrew Neal said.

The bigger goal is to give them a glimpse of their future regardless of their present circumstances or what they see in their neighborhood.

“It’s a call out to the businesses of Indiana. What would it look like if your employees came along and mentored a kid from middle school through their high school graduation. It would change their trajectory and it would make a statement that the kids in this neighborhood matter to this city,” Neal said.

The academy will open additional enrollment in November. Fifteen spots will be available, and students must complete an application and interview process. Everyone is welcome to apply. To view the application click here.

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