Families of boys killed sad to see Youth Alive close down



Posted on June 10, 2009 at 12:41 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 15 at 3:46 PM

Louisville, Ky. (WHAS11) - Youth Alive closed but the families of those teens killed in a crash leaving a program event say this never should have happened.

Despite their loss, they say they wanted to see the organization that works to keep kids off the streets still in operation.

It's the first time Frank Shields and Marc Hampton are speaking out about Youth Alive is officially closing its doors.

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Their sons were part of the inner city youth program that kept kids out of trouble.

They say not only did they lose their teenage sons but they are also losing a promising program that encouraged a better future for dozens of struggling families in the west end.

The boys' parents still feel the pain six months after losing their teenage sons.

On December 18th, a police chase led to a tragedy after a Youth Alive event.

Four teenage boys had no idea they were jumping into a stolen car.

The 17year-old driver, Herbert Lee, fled police and crashed into a tree.

He survived but the others did not.

Jemar and Demar Claybrooks, Marc Claybrooks and Arron Shields are now only a memory.

The accident forced Youth Alive to close their doors.

Board President Rita Hayes also cited pending lawsuits, no liability insurance and the fact they're simply out of money.

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

While the board will pay $80,000 out of their own pockets, 111 families on the west end are without a mentoring program.

On June 8th, the kids were forced to say goodbye at their last picnic for Youth Alive.

And with regret, the parents say farewell to Youth Alive.

A program that took ten years to build and only six months to close down.

Mediator Christopher 2X says the families are taking civil and criminal action.

Both parents say they would like to see another program like Youth Alive, that advocates youth safety.

In fact, Christopher 2X is acting as mediator, saying they're possibly creating something with help from a former pro football player.

They will be meeting on June 12th to discuss plans.