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HERO CENTRAL: Youth Organizations United To Rise Builds Up Young Minds | News

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HERO CENTRAL: Youth Organizations United To Rise Builds Up Young Minds

WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9)---Inside a house sitting on the corner of 14th St. NW, children stare intently at a math game. Others play checkers and marbles. Joyce Madyun couldn't have imagined that a program she started in the basement of her home, 24 years ago, would grow to serve over 2,000 youngsters over the years.

Sixteen years ago, Madyun and her husband rented an abandoned building on the corner block of their neighborhood on 14th Street. The couple purchased and renovated the abandoned property and turned into the after school program Youth Organizations United to Rise  (YOUR).

"I get a lot of joy just after 20 almost 25 years of doing this on this block... They have a lot of energy and I love it...it makes me have energy too!" expressed Madyun.

YOUR offers after-school and summer enrichment programs for elementary, middle and high school students.

"I really love being here. Yea, so we recently did a play."

Madyun's grandson, Michael Davis, 12, attends YOUR's Summer Camp on the Go.

"I think that it's just really cool that my grandma runs it...We learn lots of stuff. We learn like math, science" said Davis.

Madyun calls the summer camp unique, because it focuses on building confidence while increasing worldly knowledge. Students participate in interactive lesson plans in the morning. Then in the afternoon, they embark on field trips visiting parks and museums such as the Natural History Museum and Rock Creek Park.

"[T]here are some good programs, but for the most part the children are not getting the academics and the exposure to our great city Washington, DC which I feel is a class room in and of itself," said Madyun.

"Mr Chris," leads the students on a discussion over the behaviors of animals between predator and prey. Later, students participate in a "predator and prey" game similar to capture the flag. Students representing the prey wear white flags around their waist. They try to pick up plastic green patches that symbolized vegetation. Meanwhile, students who represent the predators try to chase the "prey" students by grabbing their white flags.

"Well the predators usually guard what the pray are going after so that the pray goes near the predator and when they go to get it you grab the, you catch the prey," explained Davis.

The camp is not only fun, but also stimulates the mind.

"I've heard that you can lose a lot of the stuff you learn over the school year during the summer. And if you come to places like this where you can learn that stuff then you won't really forget it and you'll know it when you go back to school," said Davis.

YOUR's work is made possible by a small group of staff, and volunteers who often give back after graduating from its programs.

"I get a lot of joy...They come back as teenagers. Some come back for employment. Some just come in to talk or reinforce our program with the students that are here."

NOTE: YOUR has received a grant from Gannett Foundation.

Produced by: Elizabeth Jia
WUSA9 & WUSA9.com