Funding issues jeopardize summer youth program in Hamilton

The job and mentoring program for youth ages 13-18 in Hamilton started its second year June 9, but has hit a fiscal road bump that could lead to its cancellation, according to its organizer.

The Pastor Shaq Job/Mentoring Youth Program, started by Pastor Shaquila Matthews, is held at the Booker T. Washington Community Center and engages youth in a variety of activities aimed at personal development. In addition to performing community service, youths also help keep the city clean by picking up trash and other activities. They are paid $25 per day for their work.

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However, some of the financial commitments thought to be in place did not materialize, according to Matthews.

“We need at least $8,000 and that’s to cover the pay for 50 kids so they can make $25 a day during the program,” she said.

Trying to keep youths engaged and out of trouble while putting in a hard day’s work brought several willing donors out to contribute, but Mathews said some of those donors were not able to give when it came time to contribute.

“We had some commitments drop off from sponsors, but we did get a grant for supplies — just not enough money for salary to go to the kids,” Matthews said. “I would not want to disappoint the kids and cancel the program because of lack of funding.”

Mathews has started a GoFundMe page to help raise funds. So far more than $600 has been raised.

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