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'We just go in by faith' | Group opens summer camp, safe haven for children in South Dallas

The Village Bridge Center is the site of a youth summer camp, this year. Organizers say the mission is to keep kids safe, engaged, and help families with resources.

DALLAS — A building on the 2100 block of S. 2nd Avenue has become a safe haven for children living in and around South Dallas.  

The Village Bridge Center opened its summer camp to a large group of kids on Monday.

“We would no longer stand for violence in our communities,” Tabitha Wheeler-Reagan, a community organizer and business owner, said.

This is the second season Wheeler-Reagan and her team are flipping The Village Bridge Center into a day camp for children. It’s a free camp, with the goal of keeping kids safe and off the streets this summer.

“We pull together whatever resources we can. We just go in by faith and say, 'we are going to open the doors,'” Wheeler-Reagan explained.

Concerns over increasing violent crime in Dallas is how the camp initially started in 2019. Wheeler-Reagan said she and her team saw too many young people injured, or killed, in acts of senseless violence.

Now, just two days into this summer season, police in Dallas remain busy with shootings and assaults that continue finding young people caught in the crossfire.

“It’s very disturbing. Especially, because it’s so close to me,” said Elizabeth Henderson, the camp's director.

The camp organizers are working to keep the children engaged. However, the reality is resources are limited. Henderson and Wheeler-Reagan said they could use the community’s help.

“We’re not in the business of summer camps, but we do need people to come in that have programs,” Wheeler-Reagan said.

The camp’s organizers said they are in need of donations, including art supplies, games, educational items, food, and snacks. Another need high on their list of requests is volunteers willing to donate time.

“I want mentors to come through,” Henderson explained. "We have kids that need a lot of help. Especially these boys,"

The organizers are urging anyone who can help out to contact The Village Bridge Center at TheVillageBridgeCenter.org.