DENVER (CBS4) – A local nonprofit that helps children stay off the streets is at risk of shutting down.

“I feel like the Lord really has a purpose for me,” Terrance Roberts told CBS4.

Roberts is the founder of the Prodigal Son Initiative. It’s a local nonprofit that provides at-risk children in Denver neighborhoods with a alternative to a life of crime. But now the organization is facing a tough decision.

“We have to close our after school program because we just don’t have enough funds to run an adequate program,” Roberts said.

After getting mixed up with the wrong crowd, Roberts ended up getting shot in the back and even spent time in jail. He’s dedicated his life to building the organization.

“I just really wanted to create a better opportunity for the kids in this community that didn’t want to live that life,” he said.

“I’ve been affiliated since about 16 with gangs,” Ryan McCoy said.

The program has helped teens like 18-year-old McCoy. Its offices are located near the old Holly Square Shopping Center that burned down nearly five years ago due to a gang fight.

Thanks to help from the Prodigal Son Initiative and private donations, the shopping center has been turned into a basketball court and a place where children can go and have fun while staying off the streets.

McCoy said if it wasn’t for the Prodigal Son Initiative he would still be in a gang.

“Oh, i would be a gang member, I already know, I wouldn’t have stopped. I would say I want to, but I’d have nowhere to turn,” McCoy said.

Roberts hopes that through continued community support teens in the community can turn away from gangs for good.

“This is a way for us to heal some communities for pennies on the dollar and literally save a life, the life of a child,” Roberts said.

Roberts says that in order to stay afloat the organization needs $60,000 for operational costs. Visit the Prodigal Son Initiative website to make a donation.


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