Madison House working to help kids - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Madison House working to help kids

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YAKIMA, Wash.-- Madison House Youth Community Center in Yakima has been working hard to keep teens and kids on the right path.

Jennifer Morales was one of those kids and started coming to Madison House when she was in the first grade. She's now 15.

"This neighborhood is really surrounded with a lot of drug and alcohol and gang violence, so this is a place where kids can come and be safe," Morales said.

Madison House is a youth center for kids who live in the east side of Yakima. A hotspot for gang and drug activity.

Community Director Sara Holtzinger says the kids there are always dealing with that kind of stuff.

"They have come from unhealthy situations. Gang involvement, drug usage, if they've not experienced one they've experienced all of these things," said Holtzinger.

They have summer camps, tutoring, and a lot of other activities to keep kids busy and off the streets.
 
Madison House is hoping to gain more community involvement so they can continue to grow and help more kids. 

"With community help as we have begun to have, we can come together and brainstorm on ways that we can help these kids rather that having them fall through the cracks," said Holtzinger.

Over time, Holtzinger says she sees a change in those who walk through the doors. Something that Jennifer Morales has experienced for herself, and hopes to pass on to others.

"I would like to give back to this place, because it's always been there for me," said Morales.

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