RANTOUL — A program aimed at helping young people has started in east Rantoul.
The Rantoul Project, operated by Community Service Center, will serve youths in the Pheasant Ridge subdivision at 640 Autumn Fields Lane.
The project mirrors one that was operated on Hobson Drive at the now-closed Autumn Glen apartment complex and most recently at Rantoul Youth Center.
"We started serving at the youth center to maintain our contact with the kids," said Wendy Hundley, Rantoul Project program manager.
"We reached out (to the Pheasant Ridge area), and they seemed excited about the idea of having an after-school program in their neighborhood."
She has been working with Cox Property, Mahomet, the new owner of the subdivision.
The program is only for kids of the Pheasant Ridge area.
In a three-bedroom apartment, 20 to 30 children a day are given help with their homework from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
The Rantoul Project will also include a nutrition class directed by the University of Illinois Extension.
An after-school mentoring program will also be offered in partnership with Community Elements.
"We are also working on having an intervention program with the families and children," Hundley said, adding that it will "be sort of like a Prairie Center intervention program where they deal with alcohol and substance abuse."
The 10-week program will work with parents and children to show them that there are choices and alternatives besides using drugs and alcohol. Hundley said the program is likely to start in February or March.
In working with Cox Property, Rantoul Project officials agreed to pay half the cost to renovate the three-bedroom apartment where sessions are held. Cox does not charge rent for use of the facility, but CSC pays for utilities.
Hundley said tutors and volunteers are needed for the Rantoul Project. Contact Hundley at Community Service Center to volunteer.