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"Something very positive in their free time" | CityGate Dream Center working to curb youth violence in the Triad

Community leaders address key issues amongst teens by creating a sense of belonging to inspire, uplift and motivate students in Alamance County.

BURLINGTON, N.C. — It's more than just games, sports, and skills at these Triad community centers.

This summer, the city of Burlington dedicated more than $100,000 toward curbing teen violence.

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WFMY News 2's Grace Holland spoke to one of those organizations to see the difference it's making for many kids and teens.

CityGate Dream Center in east Burlington community center there's a melody of motivation.

“It gives the kids and the teenagers the opportunity to do something very positive in their free time,” Oscar Oviedo, a music teacher at the Dream Center said.

The Dream Center hopes kids and teens take a positive direction as they grow into adulthood. 

“I try to show them what not to do,” Ronnie Enoch, a Dream Center volunteer said.

Enoch volunteers his time and shares his powerful story with the teens who come through the doors.

“I was addicted to crack cocaine for about 20 years. During that time, in my young life, I wish I had a place like this where I could come. A positive place from the negative elements in the community,” Enoch said.

The Dream Center is one of several community groups receiving money from the city to stop teen violence.

RELATED: Deadly teen shootings have Triad cities paying for prevention

Lisa Edwards, the CityGate Dream Center Director, has seen a difference in students who stick with their programs over the years.

“They weren't involved in school very much. They didn't particularly love school, but those same kids are now involved in the football team or the band. If they start down that path, somebody consistently caring about them is going to help them make a different choice,” Edwards explained.

Enoch said encouragement from parents can go a long way too.

“I know that you have to work," “Enoch expressed "I know a lot of times you're leaving them at home. Let them know that they're positive places they can come. We're not [gonna] judge you. We're [gonna] love you right where you are and love you through it.”

RELATED: Graham police charge two teenagers with first degree murder in death of two 16-year-olds

One of the many programs the dream center offers is spin, a weekly get together where middle and high schoolers can play sports, take leadership classes and share a meal together.

Their fall session just got started so it's not too late to get involved.

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