Youth Center Offers Bright Spot in Troubled Community - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Youth Center Offers Bright Spot in Troubled Community

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In south Fargo, one neighborhood that's seen its share of crime in recent days is working hard to make sure there's plenty of good to balance out the bad.

Within the last two weeks, the 400 block of 21st Street South has seen an alleged strong-arm robbery and assault, and a home in the same area was the site of a SWAT operation. Now some community organizations like the CHARISM youth center are looking to put the trouble behind them.

CHARISM, a community group aimed at overcoming poverty, is located in the middle of a Fargo neighborhood known for its lower-income housing and trouble. Shanda Hakk, youth development director at CHARISM, says the organization has worked with families in the area for the past 20 years, helping them grow and succeed.

CHARISM itself has also grown with time. Since the summer of 2011, the organization has worked with volunteers to develop a community garden. Volunteer Nola Storm helped start a community garden behind Fargo's community housing and says the project has been "a gift to the families [in the area]."

The CHARISM center uses its gardens to provide free food on Fridays for its immediate neighborhood and feeds an average of 60 to 80 families each week.

The garden gives community members a productive outlet, fresh and nutritious food, and the opportunity to have a positive impact on their neighboring communities by sharing their excess produce. The good work continues to spread as the program expands each year.


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