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Locals say more youth programs are needed in Killeen

Posted at 6:49 AM, Mar 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-19 07:49:05-04

KILLEEN, TX — No matter if you’re a teen, or younger, after-school activities like sports leagues and other youth programs have closed or barely remained open during the pandemic. Causing many like Shekeya McCallister’s 12-year-old daughter, Ayanna to miss out on all the fun.

“When spring break happened, she didn’t go back. She was home for the whole entire year,” said Killeen Resident Shekeya McCallister.

McCallister says Ayanna and other teens don’t have enough programs to begin with, especially in downtown Killeen.

“We have programs here but they’re very limited. Boys and girls club there like in every city but it’s overpopulated. There’s limited transportation and resources for the children to get to these programs,” said McCallister.

McCallister said what is available is overpriced, especially for families with multiple children. Last year Killeen saw soaring crime, including a record 31 homicides.

Some think the lack of programs, is a factor for restless teens.

“Somebody may not be at home pick a lock or they could break into someone’s car. It doesn’t make it right, I do think it does play an impact on that,” said McCallister.

“I’m speaking at the Bell County Juvenile Justice Center. When I told him about my program a lot of those kids were excited I have somewhere to go,” said ImPossible Teen Center Founder Vantonio Farley.

Local parents are hoping that the city council can find ways to add more programs.

Officials with the Boys & Girls Club of Central Texas say they plan on establishing a teen area at the downtown location.