Youth Alive closes after lawsuit and tragedy

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WHAS11.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 6:43 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 13 at 1:56 PM

(WHAS11) - A youth program that's been a part of the Louisville community for 10 years has now been stopped.

Youth Alive worked to keep kids in West Louisville off the streets and in school.

Monday was their last day in operation. They are out of money and living in the shadow of a tragedy that claimed the lives of four of their members.

In December, four members of Youth Alive were killed in this car crash. They got into the car after a Youth Alive event with a 17-year-old driver Herbert Lee.

Police say lee was in a stolen car and was fleeing from officers when he wrecked the vehicle killing all four teenage passengers.

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"There is going to be a lot of grieving a huge grieving process and the staff is grieving the kids will be grieving and we have to consider this is just 6 months after the children lost their friends in the car accident," said Rita Hayes, Board President of Youth Alive.

She says the program is out of money and they are facing lawsuits from their insurance companies who say their policies won't cover the car crash.

"Considering we are completely out of cash the payment for fighting these lawsuits have to come from directly from the board members," said Hayes.

The total cost out of pocket could be around $80.000.

The goal of Youth Alive was to keep kids safe and happy and focused on their futures.

A former employee of Youth Alive says the program shouldn't close.

"You have children that had no hope that was given hope, you have kids that didn't have a belief that believed in something and it came from one small organization," said former Youth Alive staffer Maisha Guy.

From troubled youth to area mentor, Youth Alive Founder Kenny Boyd is saying goodbye to his kids, his program and what he spent the last 10 years building.

"I've been worried every night about what is going to happen to these kids. What's going to happen to them? Its summer time, this is the prime time for kids to get into trouble," added Hayes.

Kenny Boyd, Youth Alive Founder, declined a request for an on camera interview today.

Seven staff members will be out of job and 111 kids were enrolled in the summer program.

Saint Stephen is lending a hand to the kids from Youth Alive. The church is trying to arrange for some of the kids to spend the summer with them.

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