LEBANON, Tenn. —A program that has kept thousands of inner city kids off the streets and in school is in danger of shutting down. Money is running out for the Inner City Kids Empowerment Program or "IKE," and the founder said if they don't get help soon they will shut down by the end of the month.
"At this point, we are just going from day to day, and doing what we can," said Founder Joy Briggs.
For the last 14 years, the program has been helping about 50 kids each day. The kids are taken straight from school to the program, are given a hot meal and help with their homework.
Area schools also help with the program. Teachers recommend students for the program, and volunteer their time to tutor anyone who needs help. Volunteers say the extra attention for struggling students makes a big difference on their report cards.
"It just builds their confidence when they get that one on one attention," said Byars Dowdy Elementary School Counselor Julie Sydenstricker, " When someone helps them with their homework, it goes a long way."
Briggs said the program normally relies on grant money and donations, but money is running out, and she is concerned the program may not go on.
"I know the environment out there for non-profits is real tough," said Briggs, " It is tough for everyone, but in order for us to do what we do, we got to pay the bills."
The IKE facility is located in the middle of a public housing community, and Briggs said it has made a big impact on the students, and the entire community.
"Without education, these kids will never break out of poverty. We have to do what we can to help them."
To make a donation to the IKE program you can contribute to their account at Wilson Bank and Trust in Lebanon or mail a check to P.O. Box 3533, Lebanon, TN, 37088-3533.