Family-owned bar now youth center dedicated to helping neighborhood children

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Monday, August 15, 2016
Family-owned bar now youth center dedicated to helping children
wpvi-Courtesy Kevin Upshur

STRAWBERRY MANSION -- When Kevin Upshur's mother passed away 10 years ago, he decided to transform his family-owned bar into a safe haven for the children of his Philadelphia community.

The Strawberry Mansion Learning Center provides children with books, unlimited computer access, healthy meals and mentoring by the center's volunteers.

Upshur tells ABC News, "My mom had asked me to work and take care of some young people because of all the violence in the community."

And now with the learning center, Upshur is doing just that.

The not-for-profit is open to all children in the community. All parents need to do is come by the center and sign their children up.

In addition to providing a comfortable learning environment, the center takes its children on field trips and frequently collaborates with local charities.

Upshur says he especially prioritizes reading and educating the children on history and African-American studies.

"We see them grow and mature in a way where they become more conscious about who they are and what they need to do," Upshur said. "And that's one of the most rewarding things that I get."

The center relies on donations and fundraisers, such as fish fries and an upcoming skating party, to stay afloat. But despite these obstacles, Upshur hopes to make the space a permanent institution that can serve Strawberry Mansion for generations to come.

Read the full story from ABC News.