YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Twon Ahart has a simple way of describing City Kids Care.
“Basically we’re a group of guys that just started out [where] we just wanted to make a difference in the community,” he said.
Ahart and Brandon Perry are the co-founders of City Kids Care, a non-profit charity founded in 2011 that is devoted to addressing the needs of underprivileged children throughout the Youngstown area. The two grew up in Youngstown and are part of a group of young men devoted to giving back.
On Saturday, more than 250 people showed up to their community Thanksgiving dinner in association with — and hosted by — The Red Zone on Youngstown’s north side.
Everything was free.
“We’re thrilled,” said Corinne Milentijevic, executive director of The Red Zone, which was founded by Maurice Clarett and Simon Arias in August and aims to give opportunities to children in the area and keep them on the right path.
“I mean, everyone is having a blast,” she added. “We have a deejay, we have Elmo and we have Spongebob. It [has] just been great to see the people in our community come together.”
Charles Colvin, or DJ ChipBanks, grew up in the neighborhood.
He has been helping out City Kids Care and The Red Zone with entertainment for three years. He said he jumps at every chance to give back.
“When we were growing up here, there wasn’t a lot of people doing what we’re doing here,” Colvin said. “We see how it uplifts the families and helps the parents out, especially during the holidays.”
Between the turkey and dancing, those in attendance also had the opportunity to get their hair cut by barbers from Raphael’s Barber Academy, which gave over 40 haircuts for free.
“When it comes to haircuts, it’s like the psychological part of it,” said Manuel DuBose, director of Raphael’s Barber Academy. “When you feel good, you tend to do good.”
That’s why he, Perry and the people at The Red Zone plan to continue holding events for as long as possible.
“To bring people together and to create this atmosphere and to have a positive place where there’s positive energy and everyone’s doing something — it’s just a wonderful feeling,” Ahart said.
“It puts a really positive spin on social services. It allows us to meet our community members, see what their needs are and work together to help them get those needs met,” Milentijevic added.