HACC dedicates center to teenager killed in shooting

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Officials say center will focus on preventing unnecessary gun violence

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — A new center for youth is opening soon. The Housing Authority of Champaign County is calling it the EnVision Center or the David C. Sankey Community Youth Center. That’s in honor of David Sankey, a 16-year-old who was shot and killed in a 2018 shooting.

This new building will house the program YouthBuild, which connects at-risk youth ages 16 to 24 to mentorship, counseling and job-training.

“This is a great day because today we’re about to dedicate a building that means so much to this community,” said Housing Authority of Champaign County CEO David Northern. That’s because it’s the culmination of months’ worth of work by the Housing Authority of Champaign County.

“I know that this is a great place for kids to start,” said Sankey’s mother Yvonne Johnson. “It gives them a place to go. They have counselors, they have people to talk to, they have on-hand training.”

The center will also be a resource for families in crisis.

“When we have a tragedy… that we would have a safe place to bring the family… to have conversation and to get away from the public and just a private place that we could meet with them,” said Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Rickey Parks.

Johnson says she’s happy, seeing her son’s name live on as a catalyst to helping young adults be successful. “It makes me so proud because I don’t want this town to ever forget David.”

That center isn’t open quite yet. The HACC still needs to do some painting and remodeling. The plan is to have it ready for use by late spring-early summer.

The first group to finish the YouthBuild just graduated. Around 20 youth left with high school diplomas and certifications. If anyone is interested in signing up, they can contact the program’s director Lily Walton at (217) 378-7100 ext. 5025.

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