Man keeps community center open to help neighborhood amid pandemic
A man from the Bronx made sure his community center stayed open so he could continue to care for others amid the pandemic.
Clyde Thompson, the program director for Directions for Our Youth at the Butler Community Center, made sure the center stayed open during the tough times of the pandemic.
"When people were laying people off and closing places down, we chose to stay open and provide summer youth opportunities," he says. "There was just too many needs and services that had to be addressed that you could shut a center like this down."
MORE: Black History Month
Thompson says staying open allowed him to provide employment to his staff as well as the ability to hand out meals and essentials to the neighborhood.
Thompson's mentees who have worked with him throughout the pandemic say they feel like they're ready to face anything.
"I just knew that I had to take the opportunity to work with him when I could because I see how he helps the kids," says Minnie Harris, a mentee.
Thompson says he knew kids needed an escape, so the center was open for its usual activities, like games, computer use and a spot for learning and doing homework. He says this was especially important for kids of essential workers.
“I don't want them to think there's nothing that we can't overcome if we do it together,” Thompson says.