4 Youth Programs Cut in LR Funding Vote

LITTLE ROCK, AR -- Funding for programs aimed at helping Little Rock's at-risk youth were put to a vote Tuesday night.

Four programs were cut and there was a lot of discussion about how to best to measure the success of programs aimed at helping the city's kids who need it.

At The First Tee program, Brad Martin coaches up the kids.  He teaches more than just a game.

"We think [golf] carries directly over... the responsibility, respect, confidence in yourself, perseverance," said Martin.

A third of the 900 kids learning here each year are on scholarship.  Without money from the city, says Martin, the youth program couldn't go on.

At the Little Rock Board of Directors meeting Tuesday evening, funding for First Tee and 29 other youth programs were on the table.

"What is being done to improve attendance?" questioned city director Joan Adcock.

Despite worries about a lack of participation in some programs, city directors approved spending more than $3 million in sales taxes on youth programs this year. Not all programs made the cut.

"There was a lack of performance," said Dorothy Nayles, Director of Community Programs.

Funding was ended for two programs at the Ministry of Intercession and two others at Pulaski County Youth Services.  The city says it's currently looking for new programs to replace those services.

Martin is thankful First Tee got its funding, allowing him to continue his mission.

"We're teaching them how to play golf, but were certainly giving them life skills," said Martin.

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