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Youth sports program offering free summer program to at-risk kids in Sunrise community

Youth sports program offering free summer program to at-risk kids in Sunrise community (Photo: Sinclair Broadcast Group)

SAN ANTONIO - A non-profit youth sports program wants to stop the cycle of violence plaguing the Sunrise subdivision on county's Northeast Side.

Ezra Palmer and friend Dakari Jackson live in the subdivision. They have managed to stay out of trouble, but they say some of their friends have already had run-ins with the law.

"Just stupid stuff, like mostly peer pressure and stealing from the store," says Palmer.

"You got kids trying to join gangs because there's nothing else to do," adds Jackson.

National Youth Sports wants to make a difference.

"Being from that area, I haven't always been the man I am today," says volunteer coach Frank Valdez. He says playing sports at a young age made a difference in his life.

"Discipline, how to respect authority, how to follow through with a mission, not quitting, having a winning attitude and these kids are deprived of that," says Valdez.

NYS says it's now partnering with the Judson Independent School District and the San Antonio Police Department to develop a wide range of free sports programs in the subdivision.

Paul Tibbetts has worked with thousands of kids and has seen the difference sports can make in a child's life.

"You're putting all of you, literally 100% of your time for that experience," he says. "So when it happens, it means the world."

He admits, it's been a challenge to get financial support for Sunrise neighborhood from area businesses. The organization is a nonprofit and is also in need of community volunteers.

The goal is to offer sports as an alternative as early as this summer.

"We know once these kids are out of school, they're just going to be running around and we don't want that."

If you would like to help National Youth Sports with the program, click here.

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