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City of Holland, Escape Ministries launch second year of youth program

Updated: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 |
City of Holland, Escape Ministries launch second year of youth program story image
HOLLAND, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A Holland community has a unique program to support a better future for at-risk kids.

The City of Holland and Escape Ministries have launched Holland Youth Connections for a second year.

The program has over 80 at-risk students participating in a 10-week summer program.

Thanks to a private donor and partnerships with local businesses, the students are working hands-on in the community, learning about work ethic and teamwork all while earning a paycheck.

Executive Director of Escape Ministries, Willie Watt Jr. says he hopes they will use the experience and the money they earn to get themselves back on track.

"A lot of kids that just got out of juvenile detention is now going to be working, so they can now pay off their fines.  Now they won't go back in because they didn't pay off their fines," he said. "We're making sure that these kids are taking care of themselves and also taking care of the community at the same time, and really feeling like they are going to be part of the community and have a little bit of pride in Holland."

The Holland Police Chief says last summer the city saw the lowest crime rate in over 20 years, party due to programs like Holland Youth Connections.

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