ORLANDO, Fla. – A youth center in Orlando’s Parramore neighborhood is losing one of its spaces.
New Image Youth Center is being asked to vacate from its studio after the building was sold, according to a Facebook post. The building sits near the corner of West Church Street and South Parramore Avenue.
The post said the center was told the building would be sold, but that the organization would still be able to “maintain (its space) with our month-to-month agreement.” However, the center said it received a notice on Monday to vacate the building.
[TRENDING: Closed department store transformed into 2-story entertainment center in Sanford mall | VIDEO: Drunken woman on motorized suitcase leads police chase through Orlando airport, officials say | Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]
The center takes up the entire 200 block of S. Parramore, in three buildings owned by three different owners. While only one of the three buildings is being sold, it’s a crucial one for storing the bicycles for neighborhood children and housing daily programs, including dance, step and MMA.
“I mean the truth of the matter is we knew that eventually this will happen. This is a story that we have been fighting against for a very long time, but now Our (sic) reality is here,” the post reads.
Dr. Shanta Barton-Stubbs founded the center when she was just 21 years old. She said the center provides services to students in kindergarten through 12th grade at no cost.
Barton-Stubbs said when she began the center, four students attended regularly. Now, on any given day, about 65 children come for after-school care, homework help, tutoring and activities like mixed martial arts.
“My father moved this church from Winter Park to Parramore in 2004 and it was a group of four children that I just wanted to give the opportunity to play a game of Monopoly,” she said. “And during that game of Monopoly, more and more kids began to show up at the door and before you knew it, it was becoming this youth center.”
On Wednesday, Commissioner Regina Hill stopped by the New Image Youth Center to personally tell Barton-Stubbs the City of Orlando is already looking for short-term solutions, as the city is the largest landowner in Parramore.
“There’s no control we can do with the sale of a building. But what we can do is continue to make sure that Shanta and the kids know that Parramore will always be home. And what we do have control over (is) some of our city building,” Commissioner Hill said Wednesday.
That’s when Barton-Stubbs began to cry.
“I know that the support is real. There is no denying the program that New Image Youth Center to have been able to produce for 17 years. I was 21 years old. I’ve literally given my life to the youth of Parramore, so just to see them hurt, you know,” Barton-Stubbs said. “New Image Youth Center is definitely their home so it’s hard. You know, Paramore is where we were born and raised 17 years and this is where we want to stay.”
As for a long-term solution, the center has launched a campaign for the last few years with the hopes of moving to an entirely new space in Parramore.
To donate to their program, click here.