LRM Client Spotlight: Across the great Mississippi River sits the city of East St. Louis, which is a place that more than 30,000 people call home. It is not a hidden fact that the city’s youth is predisposed to many of its perils at young ages, as only 40 percent graduate from high school and 25 percent attend college or a trade school. Gang affiliations are estimated at 50 percent, and many will experience multiple run-ins with the law by their teen years.
There are undoubtedly many obstacles stacked against the youth in East St. Louis, but one organization called the Christian Activity Center (CAC), aims to provide positive mentorship which results in life enhancement. No other organizations in East St. Louis can brag and say its youth’s high school graduation rate is at 90 percent, while 75 percent obtain further education. Youth who attend CAC programs are less likely to commit crimes, as less than 5 percent are active in gangs and less than one percent have juvenile records.“Youth appreciate the trust and support they receive daily from the Christian Activity Center,” said Russ Smith, CAC operations manager. “For adults, CAC provides a safe place for their kids, which educates and sustains a quality of life that would be challenging to attain. Parents appreciate the support to further develop their children into productive citizens.”