SA Youth opens new center at Emmanuel AME Church on the East Side

Submitted by Rudy Arispe on November 21, 2013 - 12:47pm

About 100 East Side, at-risk youth now have a safe and nurturing environment to go to after school during the critical out-of-school time hours from the time a child leaves school until he or she can be supervised when a parent or adult returns home from work. Recently, SA Youth opened a center at the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, 1600 Simlinger Road.

“The Emmanuel Church had been looking for programs such as ours that serve kids, and they felt that our out-of-school time program was a good fit,” said Sayaunda Casey, SA Youth program director.

Children who attend the center will receive mentoring, tutoring with homework, will have access to computers and participate in sports activities, music and other enrichment programs. “The Emmanuel Center will now serve a population who we had never served before,” Casey said. “It allows children a safe place to go while their parents are working.”

The Rev. Chuma Okoli said as part of the Emmanuel AME Church’s mission it hopes to empower the community socially, economically and educationally. Inviting SA Youth to open a center at the church is in line with that vision. “Our educational goal is to partner with organizations like SA Youth to help enrich the lives of at-risk kids who are part of the East Side community,” he said. “This is a wonderful opportunity to provide mentoring and to create an environment of learning so these kids can excel.”

Since moving into space at the Emmanuel Church, the parish has worked with SA Youth to host a college readiness program in which members of the 100 Black Men and Sistas in Business spoke to about 400 of SA Youth kids from its various centers. The purpose is to encourage at-risk kids to go to college. 

SA Youth is seeking volunteers to serve as mentors and reading buddies to kids at the Emmanuel Center. To volunteer, call Sayaunda Casey at (210) 857-0287 or email