KILLEEN, TX — For many school districts across the state, it's Spring Break. While some will use this next week to relax and unplug, some community leaders in Killeen are using this week to keep kids engaged.
It's no secret kids are naturally curious, but sometimes being too curious can get you into trouble. With this in mind, some community leaders are stepping up to give area kids something productive to do over the break.
"I remember being a teen here during Spring Break and not really having much to do," said Vantonio Fraley, owner and Creator of the IMpossible Teen Center.
Remembering his own boredom he felt as a teen growing up in Killeen, Fraley says he just wanted to make sure local kids have something productive to do.
He has a week's worth of events planned with a variety of topics and activities. Fraley has also connected with other local community leaders and business owners to come out and share their experiences with the teens.
"The teens get to ask questions and explore whatever it is they want to ask about those industries, and how they can get into those specific levels in those peoples careers," Fraley explained. "We'll have a live DJ, performances, I have some of their peers performing, so it will be a great way for them to come and hang out with their friends to come stay off the streets and get an experience."
Fraley says staying in touch with youth in the community is essential.
"It’s important for us as a community," he said. "We are knowing that our kids are getting poured into, which ultimately is a long-term investment. It’s a chance for us to really take care of the kids so one day they can take care of us. You know, we teach them how to grow now and they can feed us later."
Dr. Tammy Bracewell, a professor of Criminal Justice at A&M Central Texas, says it's common to see an increase in property crimes when school is out, so having events in the community during these times is essential to keeping kids engaged.
"There are so many kids that don't have an outlet or feel like they don't have anywhere to go. They can maybe learn something but also have a good time while staying out of trouble," she explained.
Kevin Knight at the Words Unite Bookstore is also encouraging kids to expand their minds this break by cracking open a book.
"Instead of being in front of a screen, they can do something that can really empower them and pour into them. It’s a better way to spend your time, you know, to just invest in yourself instead of versus TV screens and tablets," he said. "We have a lot of activity books! We have unique children's books that they can read and identify with. We have activity books that they can indulge in too."
The bookstore has two locations, one on Fort Hood and another in Harker Heights. Knight welcomes everyone to stop by so they can help find your new favorite book.
"It’s a place where individuals can come and find great books, great reads. You know, we try and create an awesome atmosphere where it is just relaxing and very welcoming," he said.