It hasn't been an easy road for the ImPossible Teen Center in Killeen. This is the third time something has been stolen from their property. First a ladder, then a lawn more and trailer, both never returned. Now their peace of mind.
The owner, Vantonio Fraley, said at first he was angry and frustrated, but one deep breath later his anger subsided.
"I'm learning to take 3 seconds and process things,” Fraley said
Fraley looked back through his surveillance video and found two young children throwing rocks at the side of the building. Now only a thin black wire remaining. He later found out the two children, not even in in their teens, were staying at the hotel next door.
“It's going to cost me to replace these cameras and it’s the first of the month, so we got bills and we are already struggling, so it's just another thing I have to carry,” Fraley said.
Rather than turning to law enforcement, Fraley tried to extend the olive branch and invite the kids into the teen center.
“That same day I caught them throwing bottles at the side of my building, so I invited them in and when I send them back this happens," Fraley said.
This incident highlighting the importance of mentors and leaders like Fraley in the community.
“An unactive child or kid is going to get in more trouble and be influenced. Even when you think your child would never go down that road,” said Julian Martinez, Child Safety Coordinator with the Killeen Police Department.
Martinez with KPD said communication with children is key; he believes it goes beyond just asking your child how their day was.
“That will help create that, that education from an adult to a child and helps break some of those barriers down," Martinez said. "Some of this is just a child looking for response from a parent.”
Martinez said intervening at a young age can make a difference.
“We start losing our children, when they get that 9-10 years of age, what ends up happening at that point is you start losing them to their entourage or their friendships,” Martinez said. “We need to get involved in their education and start making sure we explain the good and the bad of society and the things they should not do the know things and the good things- the positives. When you start pushing them in the positive directions, get involved in who they're involved in, know what they're doing.”
Now, Fraley is just trying to trying to bounce back, yet another hard pill he said he must swallow.
“Sacrifices must be made for change and if I must be that small sacrifice to show them something different then that's easy for change,” Fraley said.
Fraley said volunteers, mentors, and donations are always welcomed.
Your help is needed now more than ever as summer kicks off. The kids are out of school, and need a place to blow off some steam.