A new initiative in Winston-Salem is hoping to steer kids away from joining gangs and help prevent youth violence. The Forsyth County Sheriff's Office is partnering with local organizations and community members to make it happen.

The after-school program at the Winston Lake Family YMCA is in the heart of East Winston. It's a community that has a high level of poverty.

The goal is to create positive experiences for kids through mentoring and tutoring. Meals will be provided. There's even summer camp, and other activities to help keep kids engaged year-round.

Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough says they will also work with families to provide support services.

“Their families will be there to participate in the GED program if they don't have interviewing skills, life skills," says Kimbrough. "There is a plethora of things that are cranking up and starting up over there and I think those are going to be game changers.”

Kimbrough says the program is a community effort that came together with the help of local groups and donations from residents. 

The plan is to work with kids over the next five years. He says this also includes exposing them to colleges and universities through campus visits and other experiences in hopes of sparking an interest in higher learning.

The program currently serves around 40 boys and 10 girls in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools district. A majority of them are middle schoolers, with some elementary students.

Follow WFDD's Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

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