Volunteering & Giving
December 30, 2014

Safe haven for kids in a troubled neighborhood

A new teen center in the Lenox-Camden apartment complex provides kids with a safe place for homework and video games in their South End Boston neighborhood.

In a community plagued by crime, about 40 schoolkids tumble down a flight of stairs to a basement storeroom that has been remade into a safe haven. They pull out computers to start on homework, or settle in front of a pair of TVs to play video games.

The North American Family Institute, a nonprofit that specializes in community-based care, partnered with local groups — including the police — to create the Julia E. Butler Youth and Family Center.

Wells Fargo invested $145,000, and team members volunteered their time, to help make the center a reality.

It’s the culmination of a dream for Brent Henry and Vincent Cameron, co-founders of a nonprofit called Vibrant Boston. “I try to provide options that instruct them on how to be better people,” Brent says. The center is named for his grandmother, Julia Butler, who was known for her giving spirit and work in the community, Brent says.