(WREG-TV) Hopefully we all try to Pass It On at least some of the time, although there are those who put the rest of us to shame, because they’ve made giving to others their life’s work.
Like this week’s Pass It On recipient – she’s quietly, unselfishly and tirelessly making a difference with kids in one of this city’s toughest zip codes, kids whose own parents often aren’t around.
But Ms. Barbara Nesbit is always there.
This week’s playmakers are Kimberly Norman and her daughter Courtney. Both mom and daughter want to Pass It On to Ms. Barbara, a former juvenile court probation officer who runs the Vance Avenue Youth Development Center.
Courtney goes there after school, and Kimberly is a volunteer.
Located at the corner of Vance and Orleans in South Memphis, she provides a free after-school safe-haven for kids ages 4 through high school who are desperate to stay out of trouble.
Kimberly had warned us Ms. Barbara runs a tight ship, and sure enough it’s all hands on deck as we walk up.
“You just do so much. We want to thank you, to help you donate to the center.”
Where will the money go? You name it – the center feeds 200 kids every day, all from donations and volunteers. There’s no government money.
And Ms. Barbara offers more than just a place to hang. Kids have to do their homework, so there’s a computer lab to help with that.
“It’s a safe-haven to keep the kids off the streets, to keep them out of trouble, because without this building here, they wouldn’t have a place to come.”
The kids agree.
“If I weren’t here today, I ain’t even gonna lie, I would have been up and down Vance and around the corner doing this and doing that.”
Ms. Barbara is passing it on every day. Imagine if we had a dozen youth centers around town providing the structure and refuge kids need during a time of day where they can easily find trouble instead.
But then you’d need a dozen Ms. Barbaras, and there’s only one of her.
Ms. Barbara told us later she has BTW High School seniors who can’t afford their graduation fees, so she’s going to help them with that.
She also said there’s enough demand to easily double the size of the center, she just needs the volunteers and money to do it.
If you’d like to help, call (901) 527-1145 and ask to speak to Ms. Barbara.