The Haven offers homework help and support for at-risk kids

Pay It Forward
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ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) - When school lets out, there's a place for at-risk kids to go to stay out of trouble and get help with homework. The Haven is provides a safe environment in one Athens neighborhood and WHNT NEWS 19 is providing $319.

"The Haven is this little house that's located in north Athens," describes Beth Patton, a board member for Mission Athens, which is the non-profit organization that operates The Haven.

The house may be little, but the impact it's making in this neighborhood is big. It's location and consistency is key since it's near the 5th Avenue housing project.

"I think it's being able to truly build the relationship with these families," says Patton. "It's one thing to go into a community once and do something fun, but we have a presence here."

Patton says a community assessment a few years ago showed The Haven was needed.

"It's something the people living in this community told us they needed," describes Patton. "This is a high poverty area for the city of Athens and we also have a lot of families who live in this area that don't speak English. They just really appreciate the help with their children with their homework."

Twice a week, about 25 kids from kindergarten through 5th grade come here. Most of them are from Athens Elementary school, which is a few blocks away.

"There's always food," says Patton.

There is also always support.

"They can work on projects," explains Patton. "We do have wireless internet, so if they don't have it at home they can bring their devices to work on projects."

Volunteers, who are primarily retired teachers, run The Haven. It relies on donations like ours.

"That is terrific! Thank you!" says Patton. "I will definitely Pay it Forward to Mission Athens and it will go right back in to help these kids."

In addition to helping kids with schoolwork, The Haven also hosts a weekly bible study on Thursday nights that's open to both children and adults.