A group of local companies and nonprofit groups will come together Saturday in west Charlotte to offer services to address the needs of at-risk youth.

The Family Options Fair will take place Saturday at the Stratford Richardson YMCA on West Blvd.

The event is timed to coincide with the start of the new school year, said organizer Colette Forrest.

Families that attend will be able to sign up for services such as mentoring and tutoring for children and family counseling and life-skills trainings for parents.

Arranged similarly to a career fair, vendors and nonprofit organizations will be set up at tables where parents and children can peruse and sign up for services that they may need.

Forrest, along with some nonprofit leaders, developed the idea after dozens of African American teens were arrested in uptown Charlotte following the close of the Speed Street festival. They met with Mayor Anthony Foxx about possible solutions for at-risk youth.

“From that meeting with Mayor Foxx, we recognized that there could be an event that we could create that would have non-profits there to provide information and engage the parents and the children that are at risk and let them know the options that they have available to them,” she said.

Forrest said the event will also have games for kids, with food and refreshments offered after the fair.

Some of the participating organizations include:

  • The Stratford Richardson YMCA—will raffle off family YMCA memberships.
  • Hope Advancement—a family counseling organization will offer counseling for families that sign up.
  • Mr. Jim’s Pizza—will provide lunch
  • No Grease Barber Shop—will provide vouchers for children to get free back-to-school haircuts on Tuesday, Aug. 23.
  • Youth Development Initiative—will provide mentors and academic assistance to children whose families sign up.
  • Mayor’s Mentoring Alliance—will inform attendees of Mayor Foxx’s mentoring programs and promote programs that the city of Charlotte supports.

Date: Saturday, Aug. 20, 2011
Time: 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Location: Stratford Richardson YMCA (1946 West Blvd, Charlotte, NC, 28208)

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